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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

Quebec Employee Vacation & Stat Holiday Entitlement

Posted by Stacey Jones


Aug 14, 2014 8:30:00 AM

Hiring Quebec employees? What you need to know about sat holiday and vacation pay in Quebec, Canada.If you employ or are interested in employing Canadian workers, understand it’s hard (even for Canadians) to keep up with ever changing Canadian employment rules! Here at The Payroll Edge, we are often asked for information regarding vacation pay and statutory holiday pay, its meaning and entitlement. This is our first blog in the series ‘Employee Vacation & Stat Holiday Entitlement’ where we review these topics by province.

Trust us –we’re Canada’s Professional Employer Organization of choice.

If you employ Canadian workers in the province of Quebec, you need to verse yourself on the minimum employment standards in that province. Quebec employees’ rights to stat holidays and annual vacation time are governed by the ‘Act Respecting Labour Standards’ or ‘ALS’.

What do Employers need to know about Statutory Holiday Time off & Pay in Quebec?

All Quebecois employees working on a part time or full time basis are entitled to the following statutory holidays with pay:

1. New Year’s Day on January 1st
2. Good Friday or Easter Monday (One of these is mandatory but left to the employer’s discretion)
3. The Monday preceding May 25th (National Patriots Day)
4. June 24th (St. John the Baptiste Day)
5. July 1st or July 2nd when the 1st falls on a Sunday (Canada Day)
6. The 1st Monday in September (Labour Day)
7. The 2nd Monday in October (Thanksgiving)
8. Christmas Day on December 25th

Employers are required to pay part time or full time employees 1/20 of the wages employees earned during the four (4) weeks preceding the statutory holiday, excluding overtime.

For employees partially or wholly paid based on commission, employers must pay 1/60 of the wages earned during the preceding twelve (12) weeks.

If by nature of the business, the Canadian employee works on a statutory holiday, you as the employer has the option to pay them for that day their typical wages for the work completed or offer a compensatory holiday of one (1) day for which must be used three (3) weeks before or after the stat holiday.  Keep in mind that in either scenario, you must pay the statutory holiday pay as well.

St. John the Baptiste Day is one special holiday in Quebec where employees do not have to work the day before or after the stat holiday in order to qualify for holiday pay. If June 24th falls on a Sunday, Quebec workers are entitled to take off Monday the 25th from work.

What do Employers need to know about Vacation Time and Pay for Quebec Employee’s?

All employee’s regardless of what province are entitled to start accumulating vacation pay or time right from the commencement of their employment. What that entitlement is depends on the province of employment.

Quebec employees accumulate vacation time based on their ‘reference year’ as it’s called in Quebec, Canada. The reference year generally runs from May 1-April 30 each year but can be changed by employers to match employment start dates for instance. Employees in Quebec are entitled to two weeks of vacation time with 4% vacation pay. This two week vacation policy every twelve months lasts during reference years one to five. After five years of uninterrupted employment, Quebec employees are entitled to three weeks’ vacation time and 6% vacation pay.

Hiring a workforce in Quebec comes with great opportunity as well as stringent compliance standards. Ensure you know when and how to pay your Quebec employees by following The Payroll Edge blog. If your company is based in the United States, another country, or you are in Canada but unfamiliar with Quebec employment standards, your best option is to outsource your payroll to an Employer of Record provider based in Canada. An Employer of Record provider is similar to a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and can provide companies seamless workforce expansion without the worry of understanding foreign employment compliance. Contact us for your Payroll Solutions in Canada.

7 Signs It's Time to Outsource Payroll

Topics: Pay Canadian Employees, vacation policy Canada, Canadian Businesses, Quebec Payroll, Quebec Stat Holidays, Quebec Vacation Time, Pay Quebec Employees

Use it or Lose Vacation Policies: Not in Canada! (updated 2019)

Posted by Stacey Jones


May 29, 2014 8:30:00 AM

If you’re an American or foreign employer hiring Canadian employees, you may or may not have heard employee vacation policies are “use it or lose it”. Can it be true? Well, partially.

Download "12 Differences to Expect When Expanding into Canada" today!

In Ontario, the Employment Standard Act or ESA for short, states that:

“Most Employees earn at least 2 weeks of vacation time after every 12 months. Employees are entitled to be paid at least 4 per cent of total wages earned as vacation pay.”

Employers are not required to let the worker carry vacation credits forward from one year to the next if they went unused. However, the employer is required to pay the Canadian worker their accumulated vacation pay whether the vacation time was taken off or not. There you go, the “use it or lose it” policy does apply –to vacation time NOT vacation pay!

Vacation Entitlement & Pay by Province The Payroll Edge resized 600

Fast Facts on Canadian Vacation Policies

  • Minimum vacation pay across Canada (excluding Saskatchewan) is 4 per cent of total wages
  • Minimum vacation pay in Saskatchewan is the highest in the country at 6 per cent of total wages
  • Minimum vacation time across the country (excluding Saskatchewan) is 2 weeks after 12 months
  • Minimum vacation time in Saskatchewan is the most generous at 3 weeks after 12 months
  • Quebec is the only Canadian province that includes tips and gratuities’ as part of total wages when calculating vacation pay
  • New Brunswick is the only Canadian province that includes only regular earnings when calculating vacation pay

Save our Canadian Vacation Pay and Entitlement Chart or bookmark this page to track your Canadian workers vacation entitlement and figure out based on province what earned wages includes when calculating the 4 per cent (or more) of vacation pay.

The Payroll Edge answers question like these on a daily basis for our American and foreign clients who employ Canadian workers. We are their Employer of Record (EOR) service provider or Professional Employer Organization (PEO) as it’s called in the United States. 







As specialists in Canadian employment law and compliance, we offer a complete HR management solution that takes the pain out of learning a whole new set of rules and regulations in another country.  

7 Signs It's Time to Outsource Payroll

Topics: US Firms Expanding into Canada, U.S. Business operating in Canada, Ontario, Canadian Employment Laws, vacation policy Canada

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