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