Home Blog


British Columbia Employee Vacation & Stat Holiday Entitlement

Posted by Stacey Jones


Sep 30, 2014 8:00:00 AM

British Columbia Flag resized 600British Columbia Employee Vacation & Stat Holiday Entitlement is the fourth post in The Payroll Edge series “Employee Vacation & Stat Holiday Entitlement” where we outline Canadian employment compliance standards by province to assist you in hiring a Canadian worker.

As a PEO in Canada, we’re often asked about whether there is stat and vacation pay differences between provinces. Every province has different holidays and different eligibility rules around paying the employee for time off.   These rules apply to part time, full time, hourly or salaried employees. 

There are 10 statutory holidays in BC plus Easter Monday, which is a bank holiday and commemorated by federal employees only. Family day is a new statutory holiday in British Columbia as of 2013.

There are ten public paid holidays in the province of British Columbia:

  1. New Year’s Day on January 1st
  2. Family Day on the second Monday in February (New public holiday as of 2013)
  3. Good Friday before Easter Sunday
  4. Victoria Day on the Monday preceding May 25th
  5. Canada Day on July 1st    (If July 1st falls on a Sunday, Monday July 2nd replaces July 1st as the statutory holiday)
  6. British Columbia Day on the first Monday in August
  7. Labour Day on the first Monday in September
  8. Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October
  9. Remembrance Day on November 11th
  10. Christmas Day on December 25th

Although Canadian public holidays are paid holidays in Canada, there are specific rules to be eligible for a paid stat holiday. To be eligible for statutory holiday pay an employee in British Columbia must:

  • Have been employed for 30 calendar days before the statutory holiday
  • Have worked or earned wages on 15 of the 30 days immediately before the statutory holiday.

Certain groups are exempt from statutory holiday pay including; managers, agriculture workers, some salespeople who work by commission and high technology professionals. Please visit the Government of British Columbia`s website to learn more about these groups.

Vacation Pay and Entitlement in British Columbia

Minimum vacation time and pay in British Columbia entitles employees to:

  • 2 weeks of vacation after 1 year of employment at 4% of wages
  • 3 weeks of vacation after 5 years of employment at 6% of wages

Include regular earnings, overtime pay, commissions and bonuses in your "wages" calculation. Do not include public holiday pay, tips or gratuities. These are the minimum rates as set out by British Columbia`s Employment Standards Act and employers can offer a better rate of vacation pay or time entitlement if they wish.

Interestingly, BC`s ESA does not permit employees to forgo vacation time and take their vacation pay only. Employers should encourage their employees to take their annual vacation along with their vacation pay. Vacation pay may be allocated to the Canadian employee in a lump sum no later than seven days before the vacation. Alternatively vacation pay can be paid out each paycheque at the request of the employee.

Please note an employer cannot reduce an employee’s annual vacation time or vacation pay because the employee was paid a bonus or sick pay or was previously given a vacation longer than the minimum.

A PEO in Canada would calculate and track these variants for you, acting as a complete HR Management service to your American based business. The Payroll Edge is a Canadian PEO or EOR –Employer of Record, service provider specializing in HR Management services for Canadian companies and Payroll Processing for American and foreign based businesses employing a worker in Canada.

12 Things an American Company Looking to Hire a Worker in Canada Needs to Know

Topics: vacation policy Canada, public holiday pay, stat holidays

What U.S. Companies Need to Know About Stat Pay & Benefits in Canada

Posted by Stacey Jones


May 6, 2014 8:30:00 AM

Employee ‘Benefits’ are Very Different Across the Border

In Canada the health care system is government run with the funding coming from employer taxation. All Canadian citizens can register for a health card and are eligible to have their basic medical needs covered under this program. 

Each province has its own system but in its simplest form it means that Canadians do not pay out of pocket for doctor’s visits, emergency care, surgery, most diagnostic testing and short term medical leave.  Many Canadian companies offer employees a benefit program that offers coverage for those medical needs that are not part of this government system such as prescriptions and dental care.

When a U.S. company looks to match their U.S. employee benefits with those being offered to a Canadian employee, this is an important differentiator that needs be considered. 

Many U.S. companies offer employees a 401k plan and can also offer something similar in Canada called an RSP (Retirement Savings Plan).  Some differences to note in regards to the two are that the Canadian RSP can be set up through any financial institution and the employee can choose to contribute after tax dollars into their own plan.

A 401k has a set annual limit that is the same for every employee regardless of income where in Canada the annual limit is 18% of salary to a maximum of $20,000. In Canada these unused limits can be carried forward indefinitely where in the U.S. contribution amounts have to be used each year or they are lost.

Canadian Holidays Vary Slightly by Province 

Canadian holidays are not the same as those in the United States and in fact vary slightly from province to province. The statutory holidays that are the same across every province include; New Year’s Day on January 1st, Good Friday on the Friday before Easter Sunday, Canada Day on July 1st, Labour Day on the first Monday of September and Christmas Day on December 25th.

Stat Holiday Pay Eligibility

Every province has different rules in regards to statutory holiday pay eligibility. For example, in Ontario an employee is eligible to be paid for a stat holiday right from day one, in Alberta the employee must have been employed for the last 30 days before the holiday with actual working days totalling more than 15 in order to start receiving this pay. Stat holiday pay calculation is based on previous hours worked within a certain timeframe.

Looking to hire a Canadian but Unsure of Canadian Employment Law?

The Payroll Edge’s EOR service is similar to a PEO service in the United States and works to take the strain off U.S. or foreign based employers hiring and paying Canadian employees but who are unfamiliar with employment laws in Canada. An Employer of Record (EOR) service like The Payroll Edge can take care of benefits packages’, payroll calculation (including statutory pay), payroll tax deductions as well as government remittances for your Canadian employees and so much more.

Download our free PDF "Statutory Holidays in Canada" Chart to Track your Canadian Employees Holiday Pay:

Statutory Holidays in Canada  The Payroll Edge PNG Picture resized 600

Topics: Employer of Record, Best Payroll Calculator, Paying a Canadian, Pay Canadian Employees, Paying Canadian Workers, public holiday pay, stat holidays

Public Holiday Questions for Canadian Payroll

Posted by Stacey Jones


May 27, 2013 12:51:00 PM

CanadaPayrollIn light of the May long weekend, here are the top 5 public holiday payroll questions under the Employment Standards Act as seen on Lexology.


  1. Do we have to provide our staff with the civic holiday (first Monday in August)?
    Although many employers provide their staff with the civic holiday, it is not required under the ESA. The required public holidays under the ESA are: New Year’s Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day.
  2. When staff are off on the public holiday, we just pay them a day’s pay, right?  Not necessarily. Employees are entitled to “public holiday pay”, which is calculated by taking into account the last 4 weeks’ wages (plus any vacation pay) and dividing that figure by 20. This calculation may be less than a day’s pay (e.g., if the employee did not earn wages – maybe because of an unpaid leave – during the previous 4 weeks).
  3. We provide our staff with two “floating holidays” (i.e., to be taken at the employee’s discretion) instead of Victoria Day. Is this permissible? Generally speaking, yes it is. If an employer is providing more paid holidays (under the same conditions) than the ESA requires, this will generally be considered as a “greater right or benefit” than the statutory minimum and therefore permissible.
  4. Can we just pay our staff “time-and-a-half” for working on a public holiday?  If the employee agrees to work during the public holiday, the employee can receive regular pay for the holiday worked plus a substitute holiday with “public holidays pay”. Alternatively, if the employee agrees, he/she can work the public holiday and receive “public holiday pay” PLUS “premium pay” (1.5 times an employee’s wages). Assuming the employee worked his/her regular schedule during the last 4 weeks, the “public holiday pay” will generally equal a day’s pay. Therefore, adding the “premium pay” can result in a total of 2.5 times the employee’s pay for the public holiday worked.
  5. An employee has a history of calling in sick on the Friday before the holiday Monday. Is there anything we can do?  The employer can consider enforcing the “before and after” rule. Under the ESA, employees must generally work the shift before the public holiday and the shift after the public holiday to be entitled to the public holiday provisions of the ESA unless the employee can show reasonable cause for missing the shift. To the extent that the absence was not allowed by the employer (e.g., the employee does not have proper medical documentation for the absence) the employer can consider not paying the employee for the public holiday, as well as disciplining the employee.

Topics: Payroll Tips, Payroll Calculator, public holiday pay, stat holidays, calculating holiday pay, civic holiday

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts


Posts by Topic

see all