Alberta would like to remind all that the government has clear standards to ensure those working over the holidays are treated fairly.
Facts about general holidays and general holiday pay
- Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are two of nine recognized general holidays in Alberta. Many employees in the province will be eligible for some form of general holiday pay for those days.
- December 26 is not a general holiday, although some employers set up agreements with employees to consider it one. If so, the same general holiday pay rules apply. If not, it is considered a normal work day.
- To be eligible for general holiday pay, employees must not have been absent without consent on the last scheduled day before the holiday, or the first scheduled day after, AND must not have refused to work on the general holiday when requested or scheduled to.
- When eligible employees work on a general holiday, their employers have two choices on how to pay them, either:
- 1.5X their regular rate for hours worked PLUS their average daily wage, OR
- their standard rate (plus overtime if applicable) for hours worked PLUS a day off at a future time along with their average daily wage.
- Eligible employees who don’t work on a general holiday are entitled to their average daily wage, whether or not the holiday falls on a scheduled work day for them.
- Average daily wage in Alberta is calculated as five per cent of the wages, vacation pay and any general holiday pay that was earned in the 28 days prior to the holiday. Calculations are different for farms and ranches or those in the construction industry.
- Rules for general holiday pay will apply to unionized employees on Jan. 1 as well, if they haven’t already.