As summer approaches, we would like to remind you of the employer’s obligations in regards to the Quebec national holiday (June 24) and Canada Day (July 1st), particularly this year, as both holidays are on a Sunday.
Contrary to Canada Day, which is a holiday regulated by the Act Respecting Labour Standards, the Quebec national holiday, commonly referred to as « Saint-Jean-Baptiste », is governed by a specific law called the National Holiday Act. Therefore, we will address both holidays separately.
Quebec national holiday (June 24, 2018)
What happens when the employee is normally scheduled to work on Sunday?
First, we must highlight that on June 24, the employer cannot compel an employee to work unless the nature of the company’s activities requires the work to be uninterrupted. Such will be the case for hotels, restaurants, convenience stores and various factories whose production equipment must operate continuously.
Where a company’s activities can be interrupted, the employee must be on leave on June 24 and consequently, the employer will have to pay compensatory indemnity provided for in the National Holiday Act.
This indemnity represents 1⁄20 of wages earned during the four full weeks of pay preceding the week of June 24, subject to specifics applicable to employees receiving tips or commission. In calculating the indemnity, any overtime worked during the four week period is not included.
However, should the nature of the company’s activities required uninterrupted work, the employer shall then pay the employee’s usual salary for work carried out on June 24. In addition, the employer will have the option to add compensatory indemnity to the day worked or grant a compensatory holiday.
In the latter case, the leave must be taken on the business day preceding or following June 24. Such leave can therefore be taken on Friday, June 22, or on Monday, June 25, unless of course, the Saturday is a working day for the employee in question.
What happens when the employee is already on weekly rest day on Sunday?
In the event that the Sunday is not a working day for the employee, which means that day is a weekly rest day, the employer will be obliged to grant a compensatory holiday equivalent to a normal working day.
To that effect, the leave is taken on the following working day, that is, Monday, June 25.
However, if the employer may prefer, instead of a compensatory holiday, granting the employee the compensatory indemnity as set out previously.
Canada Day (July 1st, 2018)
July 1st, which is a statutory general holiday as per the Act Respecting Labour Standards, will be on a Sunday this year. Therefore, the employees who are not already working on that day will be entitled to an indemnity equal to 1⁄20 of wages earned during the four full weeks of pay preceding the week of July 1st, subject to the distinct method of calculation applicable to commission employees. Once again, calculation of the indemnity does not include overtime worked.
Unlike the National Holiday Act, the Act Respecting Labour Standards does not expressly provide the employer with the option to rather offer a compensatory holiday to the employee already on weekly holiday on July 1st.
However, it is common and approved practice that most employers will offer one day of leave to their employees by interrupting their operations, fully or in part, on the Friday preceding or on the Monday following Canada Day, when such day is on a weekend.
As for the employee scheduled to work on July 1st, the employer must pay his salary for the work carried out that day, in addition to paying the above-mentioned indemnity or granting him one day of compensatory holiday.
Contrary to Quebec national holiday, such compensatory holiday may be taken during the three weeks preceding or following Canada Day. Moreover, in order to benefit from this statutory general holiday, the employee must not have been absent from work on the working day preceding or on the working day following the holiday, except if he was given authorization by his employer or had valid cause to be absent.
Finally, we invite employers working in unionized settings to pay special attention to provisions in their collective agreement that may provide for more favourable terms than those set out in the National Holiday Act or the Act Respecting Labour Standards.