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Working Wise - Holiday Pay

Dear Working Wise,

My supervisor told me that I won’t be getting paid for the Canada Day holiday, because I just started my job. He also said that I won’t get paid overtime for working Canada Day. Is that right? I also worked more than 100 hours over the past 2 weeks. I am entitled to overtime for those hours, right?
Signed, Suspicious

June 23, 2016

Dear Suspicious,

Congratulations on the new job. Unfortunately, I don’t have great news for you: your manager is most likely right.

If you would like to learn more, including which holidays are General Holidays, check out the General Holiday Pay tip sheet on the Employment Standards website.

To be eligible for general holiday pay under Alberta's Employment Standards, you must

  • have worked 30 days for your employer in the preceding 12 months
  • work your scheduled shift before and after the holiday (unless employer consent is given)
  • work on the general holiday if requested
  • normally work that day of the week, for instance if you don't normally work on Wednesdays, you are not entitled to holiday pay for a holiday that falls on a Wednesday
  • not be working in an exempted occupation. Many commissioned salespeople and some other occupations are not eligible for General Holiday pay.

You were also wondering if you are entitled to overtime for working on the holiday. For clarification, it’s not overtime, it’s a premium rate of pay for working on a General Holiday.

If you are entitled to General Holiday pay, and the holiday falls on a usual workday, and you work on the holiday, then your employer must either:

  • pay you 1.5 times your regular hourly wage for each hour you work on the holiday; or
  • pay you your regular hourly wage for each hour you work on the holiday plus give you an extra paid holiday day

This, of course, is in addition to the paying you your average daily wage for the General Holiday.

Unfortunately, because you are short the 30 minimum days of work, you are not eligible for this General Holiday pay provision. The good news is that you will be eligible in time for the Labour Day holiday.

Finally, you were wondering if you are eligible for overtime for working more than 100 hours during a 2-week period. The short answer is yes, there is no minimum number of days of employment before you are eligible for overtime.

For most employees, overtime is all hours worked in excess of 8 hours a day or 44 hours a week. Overtime is calculated both on a daily and weekly basis. The higher of the 2 numbers is overtime hours worked in the week.

I mentioned that these rules apply to most employees, because some workers are exempted from the overtime rules.

If you would like to learn more about overtime and overtime pay, visit the Employment Standards website and click on the Overtime and Overtime Pay fact sheet.

If you have any more detailed Employment Standards questions relating to your situation, call the Alberta Employment Standards Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-427-3731 (780-427-3731 in Edmonton).

Photo Credit: © iStockphoto/manley099

Working Wise is a syndicated newspaper column prepared by the Government of Alberta to answer work-related questions from Albertans. Do you have a work-related question? You can send it to Charles Strachey (, a manager with Alberta Community and Social Services.

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