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Remembrance Day is at the end of this week, and like many industries across Canada, the Blue Canvas office will be closed on this day. Remembrance Day is considered a federal statutory holiday that is observed across Canada with exception to Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories, Ontario and Quebec. Depending on the province, it may not be considered a general holiday and therefore the usual statutory or general holiday rules may or may not apply. The rules of how much and the number of hours to pay employees on Remembrance Day varies from province to province. Please check the specific rules for the province in which you operate your business.
Some employers in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Northwest Territories – provinces that do not observe Remembrance Day – give their employees a holiday on Remembrance Day but they are not required to do so by law. Corporations that are federally registered in these provinces / territories may make the day a full holiday or designate a provincially recognized holiday on a different day. In this case, when Remembrance Day falls on a weekend day that is a non-working day, employees are entitled to a holiday with pay on the working day immediately preceding or following the general holiday.
In Manitoba, for example, Remembrance Day is NOT a general holiday and therefore the usual statutory or general holiday rules do not apply. Unless specified, please note the payroll rules mentioned in this article reference Manitoba labour legislation.
Question: Who is allowed to operate on November 11th?
Answer: Most industries are not allowed by law to operate on November 11, although there are exceptions, including first responders (police, fire and security) and employees of hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and child or home care, to name a few. The Government of Manitoba website has a wealth of information on which industries are allowed to be operational on this day and the hours of the day. For example, retail and movie theatres are allowed to operate, but NOT before 1 p.m.
Question: Am I required to pay my staff for Remembrance Day like statutory / general holidays?
Answer: No. However, it is commonplace for employers to pay their employees who do not work on Remembrance Day their usual salary, although it is not required. Regardless if you do or not, it is important to make employees aware to avoid any unnecessary questions on the next pay day why their pay check my look different from the previous pay period.
In BC, for example, Remembrance Day is a mandatory paid statutory holiday, so BC employers MUST pay their employees for this day if they are not working.
Question: I’m able to operate on Remembrance Day. Is there a different rate I must pay my employees?
Answer: If you are in an industry where you are able to be operational whether before or after 1 p.m., employees who work on Remembrance Day MUST be paid for at least HALF of a normal working day at 1.5 times their regular wages. For example, for an employee who normally works a regular work day of 8 hours but works only 1 hour on Remembrance Day, they must be paid for 4 hours at 1.5 times their regular wage. For those employees who work MORE than half their normal hours on Remembrance Day are paid 1.5 times their regular wage for all hours worked PLUS a regular day’s pay. Paying employees 1.5 times their regular wages if they work on Remembrance Day is fairly commonplace in the other provinces that observe this statutory holiday.
Question: In lieu of Remembrance Day, are employees able to substitute another day off, such as November 10th or 12th instead?
Answer: No. Unlike general holidays, Remembrance Day is November 11th and the rules ONLY apply to this specific day. Of course as an employer it is your prerogative if you choose to substitute for a different day, but know that it is NOT required.
Question: Can retail employees refuse to work on Remembrance Day if it falls on any other day of the week?
Answer: Employees have the right to refuse to work on Remembrance Day no matter what day of the week it falls but they MUST provide 14 days’ notice to their employer.
As you can see, there are a number of rules to consider when it comes to this day of remembrance. It can be confusing so make sure you are very clear on your responsibilities when it comes to paying your employees. Please check the Government of Manitoba website (or other provincial government websites depending on the province you are operate your business in) your specific for further information.
We hope you can take a few minutes on November 11th to honour and remember the brave men and women who have served Canada selflessly and with dignity during times of war and conflict. Lest we forget.