Backgrounder - Holiday season has three public holidays under Employment Standards Act, 2000

    TORONTO, Nov. 28 /CNW/ - Many employees will get three public holidays
off this holiday season with public holiday pay. Three of nine public holidays
under Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000 are Christmas Day on December
25, Boxing Day on December 26 and New Year's Day on January 1.


    Generally, employees qualify for public holiday entitlements unless they
fail, without reasonable cause, to work:

    -  Their entire regularly-scheduled shift before or after the public
       holiday; or
    -  Their entire shift on the public holiday if they agreed or were
       required to work that day.

    Public holiday pay is an amount equal to an employee's regular wages
earned in the four work weeks prior to the public holiday plus any vacation
pay payable during that period, divided by 20.
    Employees who qualify for public holiday entitlements can be full-time,
part-time, permanent or on a limited-term contract. They can also be students.
It does not matter how recently they were hired or how many days they worked
before the public holiday.


    Qualified employees are entitled to take off the public holidays with
public holiday pay. They can also agree in writing to work on the public
holidays and:

    -  Be paid their regular rate for all hours worked on the public holidays
       plus receive a substitute holiday with public holiday pay; or
    -  If the employee and employer agree in writing, be paid public holiday
       pay plus "premium pay" of one-and-a-half times their regular rate for
       all hours worked on the public holidays.


    For any public holiday that falls on a non-working or vacation day,
qualified employees can either take a substitute work day off with public
holiday pay or, if they agree in writing, they can receive public holiday pay
for the public holiday with no substitute day off.


    Generally, employees who don't qualify for public holiday entitlements
must work on the public holiday if asked by their employer. Most non-qualified
employees are entitled to be paid one-and-a-half times their regular rate of
pay for each hour worked on the public holidays. There is no substitute day
    If a non-qualified employee is not asked to work on the public holidays,
he or she gets the days off with no pay.


    Retail employees

    Most employees who work in retail businesses - businesses that sell goods
or services to the public - have the right to refuse to work on the public
holidays even if they don't qualify for public holiday entitlements.
    Retail employees who have agreed to work on the public holidays may still
refuse the assignment if they give their employer 48 hours advance notice
before the first hour of work on the public holiday.
    However, these rules for retail employees do not apply to those who work
for businesses that primarily:

    -  Sell prepared meals (restaurants, cafeterias, cafés, etc.)
    -  Rent living accommodations (hotels, tourist resorts, camps, inns,
    -  Provide educational, recreational or amusement services to the public
       (museums, art galleries, sports stadiums, etc.)
    -  Sell goods and services that are incidental to the businesses
       described above and are located on the same premises (museum gift
       shops, souvenir shops in sports stadiums, etc.).

    Under the Retail Business Holidays Act, most retail outlets must close on
Christmas Day and New Year's Day. However, stores may open if they choose on
Boxing Day. Employees still retain the right to refuse to work on Boxing Day.

    Hospital, continuous operations and hospitality employees

    Employees in hospitals, continuous operations and the hospitality
industry may be required to work on the public holidays if they fall on days
they would normally work and if they are not on vacation. This applies to
employees who work for hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, motels, tourist
resorts, restaurants and taverns, as well as to employees who work for
continuous operations (operations or parts of operations that do not shut down
or close down more than once a week such as oil refineries and alarm
monitoring companies).

    Elect-to-work employees

    Elect-to-work employees - those who decide without penalty whether or not
to work when requested - are not covered by the public holidays provisions of
the Employment Standards Act, 2000 except for the right to be paid
one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay for each hour worked on the
public holidays.


    Some employees are not eligible for public holiday entitlements because
public holiday provisions under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 do not
apply to certain jobs. These employees include:

    -  Seasonal workers (employees who work for an employer no more than
       16 weeks in a calendar year) in a hotel, motel, tourist resort,
       restaurant or tavern who are provided with room and board
    -  Taxicab drivers
    -  Professionals such as lawyers, doctors, teachers, architects,
       chiropodists, chiropractors, dentists, massage therapists,
       optometrists, pharmacists, professional engineers, physiotherapists,
       psychologists, public accountants, surveyors, veterinarians and those
       covered under the Drugless Practitioners Act
    -  Students in training for any of the professions listed above
    -  Students who instruct or supervise children or who work at a
       children's camp or recreational program operated by a charitable
    -  Hunting and fishing guides, commercial fishers and some farm workers
    -  Commissioned salespeople, except route salespeople, who normally work
       away from their employer's place of business
    -  Employees who install and maintain swimming pools
    -  Employees in landscape gardening, mushroom growing, or the growing,
       transporting and laying of sod
    -  Employees who grow flowers or trees and shrubs for retail and
       wholesale trade
    -  Employees who breed and board horses on a farm or who keep fur-bearing
       mammals for propagation or the production of pelts for commercial
    -  Construction workers who receive 7.3 per cent or more of their wages
       for vacation pay or holiday pay
    -  Residential building superintendents, janitors or caretakers who live
       in the building
    -  Firefighters
    -  Registered real estate salespeople.


SOURCES For more information, employees and employers may call the Ontario Ministry of Labour's Employment Standards Information Centre at (416) 326-7160 or 1-800-531-5551, or visit the nearest ServiceOntario Centre. Written information - including employment standards fact sheets on subjects such as public holidays - can be accessed via the Ontario Ministry of Labour's website at ------------------------------------------------------------------------- PUBLIC INQUIRIES (Employees and Employers): Pay rates and time off: Store openings: Ministry of Labour Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (416) 326-7160 or (416) 326-8800 or 1-800-1-5551 1-800-889-9768 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: MEDIA INQUIRIES: Pay rates and time off: Bruce
Skeaff, Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7405; Store openings: Ciaran Ganley,
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, (416) 325-8659

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