How Statutory Holidays Affect Overtime

Canada Day, July 1, has just been celebrated. Did you know that statutory holidays like this may affect employee claims for overtime? Depending on the jurisdiction, statutory holidays may in fact make it more difficult for some employees to qualify for overtime calculated on a weekly or workweek basis.

However, before we can get into the meat of this, there are a few concepts we briefly have to cover. First, there are two elements to statutory holidays: entitlement to holiday pay for the day itself and entitlement to any premium pay for actual work on such a day. While these are two different things and may impact overtime calculations differently, not all jurisdictions require employers to pay for work on a statutory holiday at premium rates. Second, depending on the jurisdiction, there may be two separate grounds on which overtime may be owing: on a daily basis and on a workweek or weekly basis. Daily overtime is largely unaffected by statutory holidays, so won’t be covered in this article, even though daily overtime is common in many jurisdictions.

For the purposes of this article, we can separate employment standards jurisdictions into one of two categories: those where statutory holidays actually make it more difficult for employees to qualify for weekly or workweek overtime and those where, for a variety of different reasons, statutory holidays largely have a neutral effect when it comes to determining employee overtime claims.

First, let’s look at those jurisdictions where statutory holidays make it more difficult in practice for most employees to qualify for workweek or weekly overtime. Jurisdictions such as this share two common attributes. One, statutory holidays, whether the day itself or any actual work on a holiday, don’t count as time worked toward overtime thresholds. Two, the weekly or workweek overtime thresholds don’t change for weeks which include statutory holidays.

The best example of this is Ontario. In Ontario, overtime is payable after 44 hours of work in a workweek. This threshold does not change for workweeks that include statutory holidays. Similarly, the entitlement to statutory holiday pay and any actual work on a statutory holiday do not count toward this threshold. An employee who normally works 40 hours, needs at least 4 additional work hours before overtime is payable for a regular workweek. Assuming work at 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, taking a statutory holiday on a day that would otherwise be worked means the normal hours actually worked fall to 32. Since the overtime threshold isn’t affected, employees in this situation would need at least an additional 12 work hours before overtime is payable for that workweek.

The Ontario rules above apply equally to Alberta and New Brunswick, other than for differences in the overtime thresholds among these jurisdictions.

BC, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland are other, but milder examples of this negative impact. In these jurisdictions, entitlement to statutory holiday pay does not represent “hours worked” for overtime purposes, but any actual statutory holiday work does count toward weekly or workweek overtime thresholds. These thresholds, 40 hours in BC and Newfoundland and 48 in Nova Scotia and PEI, are not affected by the occurrence of a statutory holiday. Assuming again a regular 8 hour workday, 5 days a week, an employee would need to make up the 8 hours lost to a statutory holiday before weekly or workweek overtime becomes payable. However, since work on a statutory holiday in these jurisdictions does count toward overtime, 5 hours actually worked on such a day reduces the catch-up required from 8 to 3 hours.

However, there is an exception when the weekly BC overtime threshold is exceeded on a statutory holiday. For example, assume a BC employee works 8 hours each day, Sunday to Thursday, inclusive, in the week in which Good Friday is celebrated. From Sunday to Thursday, there are 40 regular hours. If 8 hours are also worked on Good Friday, these are payable, as premium pay, at time and a half. If these hours also qualified as overtime, this would be “double dipping”. In other words, it’s not reasonable to provide an employee with both premium pay and overtime for the same hours. Although unstated, this exception also presumably applies in Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland.

For most employees in Manitoba, statutory holidays have no impact on overtime. In Manitoba, the weekly overtime threshold of 40 hours is not affected by statutory holidays. But, by contrast, the regular hours that would otherwise have been worked do count toward this threshold. For example, if Mondays are normally days an employee would work, Monday statutory holidays have no impact, since employees are credited with the regular hours that would otherwise have normally been worked. Similarly, a Monday statutory holiday has no impact for employees who normally work Tuesday to Saturday. A Monday statutory holiday, since it’s not on a day that would otherwise be worked by such employees, does not count for weekly overtime purposes. In both cases, employees would either have to work past 8 hours a day or on work other days, before overtime would be due, the same as for any other workweek.

However, the regular hours that would otherwise be worked are excluded from overtime calculations, if the employee actually works on that day. In this case, only the premium pay hours count toward the overtime threshold. For example, a Manitoba employee who normally works 8 hours a day, Monday to Friday inclusive, works 5 hours on Good Friday. For this workweek, the hours worked for overtime purposes are 37 (8 times the 4 days Monday to Thursday, plus 5 hours on Good Friday). The 8 hours normally worked on Fridays don’t count, since the employee actually worked on the holiday.

While not stated, the exception above for BC also presumably applies here, to prevent double dipping when some or all of the premium pay hours cross overtime thresholds. In other words, it’s reasonable to assume that if the employee above had worked 9 hours on Good Friday, this employee’s hours for the workweek would have been:

  • 32 regular hours, 8 hours each, Monday to Thursday; and
  • 9 hours premium pay, for work on the Good Friday,

with no overtime owing.

Quebec is very similar to Manitoba, in that the 40 hour workweek overtime threshold does not change when there are statutory holidays. Similarly, any entitlement to statutory holiday pay itself and any work on a statutory holiday both count as hours worked for overtime purposes. The two differences are that, first, in Quebec, the employment standards don’t specify how many hours must be credited toward the workweek overtime threshold for a statutory holiday. Presumably, this would be the regular hours employees would otherwise have worked on the holiday. The second difference is that, in Quebec, both these regular hours and any overtime hours worked on a statutory holiday count, not one or the other, as in Manitoba.

Other jurisdictions where the impact of statutory holidays on overtime is largely neutral are the federal jurisdiction, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. In all these jurisdictions overtime is payable on a weekly basis after 40 hours are worked. However, this threshold is reduced by 8 hours, for each statutory holiday occurring in a week, meaning, where there is a single statutory holiday in a week, to 32 hours. Neither premium pay, nor any entitlement to statutory holiday pay, count toward this weekly overtime threshold. So, in Saskatchewan, an employee who normally works 5 days a week, at 7.5 regular hours each, for a total of 37.5 hours worked, would need at least an additional 2.5 hours before qualifying for weekly overtime. When a statutory holiday occurs, if such an employee does not work on the holiday, there remain 4 regular work days. At 7.5 regular hours per day, this totals 30 hours against the reduced overtime threshold of 32 hours. In this situation, the employee would need an additional 2 hours of work before weekly overtime applies.

So far we have discussed the impact of statutory holidays on weekly or workweek overtime thresholds. However, there are two jurisdictions where statutory holidays may increase the pay owing, without regard to daily or weekly overtime thresholds. These jurisdictions are the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. This requirement for increased pay applies in workweeks, when employees do not work on the statutory holiday. For example, assume Monday is a statutory holiday, for an employee who normally works Monday to Friday. The employee does not work on the Monday statutory holiday, but is instead asked to work on Saturday, a day that would not normally be a working day for the employee. Whatever hours have been worked during the week, for overtime purposes, in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, an employee in this situation must be paid at least double-time for any hours worked on the Saturday.

Here is how each jurisdiction stacks up against the above. In the chart below, overtime thresholds means weekly or workweek thresholds, not thresholds for daily overtime purposes:

Jurisdiction

Statutory Holiday Entitlements Count as Hours Worked for Overtime Purposes

Premium Pay Hours Count as Hours Worked for Overtime Purposes

Overtime Threshold Reduced for Each Statutory Holiday

Federal

No

No

Yes

BC

No

Yes

No

AB

No

No

No

SK

No

No

Yes

MB

Yes

Yes

No

ON

No

No

No

QC

Yes

Yes

No

NB

No

No

No

NS

No

Yes

No

PE

No

Yes

No

NL

No

Yes

No

YT

No

No

Yes

NT

No

No

Yes

NU

No

No

Yes

For further information please feel free to contact me at armcewen@cogeco.ca, connect with me on LinkedIn or follow my blog at http://www.alanrmcewen.com.

About Alan R. McEwen

HRIS/Payroll consultant and freelance writer
Gallery | This entry was posted in Employment Standards and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to How Statutory Holidays Affect Overtime

  1. Steve Daigle says:

    I work overtime every day and work every day. My question is if I am already into overtime pay for the week and I work a stat holiday (Canada day) what are my entitlements for pay.
    Am I only entitled to hours worked as stat pay or do I receive overtime pay and stat pay.
    I am in alberta in oilfield.
    Thanks in advance for any help with this.

    • Steve, you haven’t really given me enough detail to answer your question. When you say “oil field” are you working directly on a drilling rig or are you part of the oil field services industry? Would Saturday normally be a work day? Generally, work on a statutory holiday is not overtime and doesn’t factor into overtime, but is paid at time and a half for the actual hours worked.

  2. Heather says:

    I work in BC. We have just had a stat on May 23rd. Our employees did not work on the stat but are eligible for 8 hours of pay. But now my employees worked tuesday to saturday 8 hrs each day..so now they have 40 regular hours plus equal psy for the stat. My question is, do they get 8 hrs of overtime for the saturday?

    • Heather, the short answer is no.

      Pay for a statutory holiday does not count toward the weekly overtime threshold in BC. So, the 8 hours paid for the Monday stat holiday and the 40 hours paid for work from Tuesday to Saturday are all in effect at straight time.

      However, actual work on a stat in BC does count against the weekly overtime threshold in BC.

  3. Rebekka says:

    I live in new Brunswick and work Monday to Friday. I had 45 hours in on Thursday and worked 15 hours on good Friday. I regularly make $11.26 an hour and $16.89 for overtime or a stat holiday. Seeing as I worked overtime on a stat holiday shouldn’t it be $11.36×2+1/2 per hour which would be over $28 an hour? I do get one days pay at regular wage in addition but my employer stated I’d make double time and a half before I worked the hours and somehow my pay cheque for tomorrow States $16.89 for the hours worked… On good Friday I worked 10am-1am. ..this was because I figured the day would be well worth it. Am I really about $168 short on my pay or was my supervisor wrong to tell me that’s the wage I would be making?

    • Rebekka, in New Brunswick the hours worked on a statutory holiday don’t count for overtime purposes, so your work on a stat is payable at 1.5 your regular hourly rate. In other words, your pay looks to be correct.

  4. NorB says:

    I have a question regarding overtime with stat paid in Manitoba. I work in an event based company, so the hours are all over the place. This past week I worked 35.75 regular hours and had 6.59 stat hours paid for Louis Riel Day. As this would total more than 40 hours in the week, I should receive 2.34 hours at O/T correct? Also, if I am to receive this amount in O/T but the last day I worked was the actual holiday. How would I calculate that? Thanks for you help.

    • From what I understand, there may be a couple of problems with your scenario. First, your hours of work for Louis Riel day are the hours that you would have otherwise worked on that specific day. If your hours are “all over the place”, does this mean you have no regularly assigned hours? Employers often use hours to calculate the stat holiday pay owing, but that average may or may not be the hours for overtime purposes that apply. Without more information, it’s hard for me to make a clear determination. For example, if you normally work an 8 hour shift and have regularly worked on Fridays, the hours for overtime purposes should be 35.75 plus 8, for 3.75 OT hours. On the other hand, if you have no particular connection with work on Fridays, the hours for the stat day may be zero.

      The same problem applies for EI purposes. Your employer should only be reporting as insured hours on the ROE the hours that you would otherwise have worked on that specific day.

      • NorB says:

        All employees receive 5% of their earnings in the 28 days immediately preceding the stat. Work is scheduled based on the events that come up. So one week, it’s possible to work say 45 hours and the next week maybe 5, there are no static hours, except for office staff. So if I understand correctly, there would be no overtime caused from the stat, for staff working “all over the place”?

        In the case of full time office staff, with the stat falling at our pay cut off, I’m curious how that would calculate with overtime. With the pay week being Tues – Mon, if they worked 8 hours T, W, Th, F and came in for 4 hours on Sat, which would cause O/T from the stat, what day would those O/T hours get entered? Sorry, I hope that’s not too confusing.

  5. Cory says:

    I am in Ontario and wondering what I will get paid as I am already well into overtime for this pay period and will also be working a stat holiday. The gist I get is that I can’t double dip and get triple time but surely I must get something more for working overtime hours on a stat holiday.

    • Cory, without knowing your specific circumstances, it’s difficult to give a precise answer, but the general rule under the Ontario employment standards is that any work on a statutory holiday is paid at time and a half – no matter how many hours that is. This is not true of other jurisdictions, such as BC, where work after 12 hours has to be paid at double time.

  6. Vanessa says:

    Ok, I have a scenario for you…. I am in Alberta I, work a shift of 5- 10.5 hr days, m-f. There was a stat holiday on Wednesday but we took Friday off in lieu of. Everyone verbally agreed it was fine to not be paid ot all day to have the Friday off instead. I realize that part is illegal. However, the part I’m confused about is that I was paid 40 straight time and 2 overtime hours for that week. ( I was under the impression that I got 8 reg & 2.5 ot each day) When I questioned it they said we are on a compressed work week and they pay ot after 40 hours. Is that correct…. I thought a compressed work week had to be no more than 44 hours (my normal is 52). And di they mean just that week was compressed? Thought CWW had to be a scheduled thing? Pay roll just said “We pay OT for anything over 40 hours per week, if it is a week of 4 days then we do pay for a compressed work week. We do not have to pay OT until you reach 40 hours per week.” Are they correct?

    • Vanessa, it’s hard to give you a definitive answer to some of your questions, without knowing more about your specific situation (i.e. industry, collective agreements, etc.) but from what you describe it does sound like something is not right. First, as you note, a CWW means fewer work days, typically fewer than 4 per week. And overtime is owed on 2 separate bases: daily overtime after 8 hours and weekly overtime after 44 hours. So an employer just can’t decide to pay overtime after 40 hours/week. On the other hand, it’s entirely reasonable of the employer to substitute the Friday for Canada Day.

  7. Mick says:

    Hi. I work in film and television so I’m considered freelance/self employed. I recently worked good Friday. The producer on said program (in Ontario) had us work Friday and have Monday off. I looked in the labour code and this seemed permissible.
    When I received my pay I was paid roughly half a day for my ‘day off monday’
    It seems to me if I was considered an employee and worked a stat I would be entitled to ‘holiday pay’ plus a min. Of time and a half…. If I were considered a ‘professional’ they were allowed to straight time on holiday and straight time for Monday.
    Am I missing anything?

    • Mick, if your status is truly freelance/self-employed, then your not actually entitled to anything under the Ontario employment standards, as these only apply to employees. If on the other hand, they are taking source deductions off your ‘pay’, then the entitlement for a statutory holiday in Ontario is not time, but money – one over 20 of the eligible earnings in the prior 4 work weeks. Employers sometimes calculate this as an average of the hours worked in those 4 prior work weeks.

  8. Janet says:

    I worked 16 hrs on Christmas Day. Do I get OT on a Stat worked? I am in AB

  9. Devi says:

    I am still confused a little. I work in MB and I work 8 hours daily monday to friday, 40 hours per week as regular. I did work for 4 hours on January 1st (Thursday) which is a holiday . But I have worked in total for only 36 hours that week. So does the 4 hours on January 1st being considered as overtime?

    • Yes, the general rule is that work on a statutory holiday must be paid at time-and-a-half, same is if this was overtime. However, there are some exceptions based on the type of employment/industry. For example, if you work in a restaurant, the employer can pay you the 4 hours worked at straight-time and then give you another day-off with pay.

  10. tresy2013 says:

    You write: “However, there is an exception when the weekly BC overtime threshold is exceeded on a statutory holiday. For example, assume a BC employee works 8 hours each day, Sunday to Thursday, inclusive, in the week in which Good Friday is celebrated. From Sunday to Thursday, there are 40 regular hours. If 8 hours are also worked on Good Friday, these are payable, as premium pay, at time and a half. If these hours also qualified as overtime, this would be “double dipping”. In other words, it’s not reasonable to provide an employee with both premium pay and overtime for the same hours.”

    Is that true? What if, instead, the stat holiday fell on Monday, not Friday, and all other facts remained the same. Then the employee gets 1.5x stat pay on Monday, while on Friday, he/she gets overtime, since the worked stat holiday contributed to the 40 hours worked to that point. Under your scenario, the employee gets only one day of time and a half, while under my scenario, the employee gets two days of time and half (equivalent to an extra day at regular pay), yet the situations are not distinguishable in any meaningful way. It seems to me that working overtime in a week with a stat holiday should effectively result in 2x pay, regardless of how the stat holiday happens to fall in the week.

    I may be missing something (I came here via Google because I’m trying to understand how these kinds of laws interact) but right now I can’t see what that is. Thanks for any insight you can provide.

    • The point I was trying to make is that it does matter, for BC purposes, if the statutory holiday falls at the start or end of a work week. As you say, an employee might work a stat holiday at the start of the work week and in the remainder of the week work his or her regular 40 hours. In that case, the work on the stat is payable at 1.5, as work on a stat, and the last 8 hours (assuming a 5 day, 8 hour workweek) is payable as 1.5 as overtime. By contrast, if the stat falls after the work week, as in a Friday stat in a Sunday to Thursday shift, then the 1.5 hours are only 8, for the work on a stat. Is that clear?

      • tresy2013 says:

        Thanks for the reply. Your statement is clear, and for all I know it’s an accurate reflection of the law, but I can’t see the reasoning behind it. In your original post you said paying overtime and stat pay on the same day would be double dipping and unfair to an employer, but why is it not just as unfair to the employee to have his net pay depend on the vagaries of when the stat holiday falls in the work week? One employee works 48 hours in a week with a stat holiday at the beginning, and another works the same 48 hours with the stat holiday at the end, and the former makes half a days more wages than the latter? If the point is simply that the law is an ass, then QED.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s