Thanksgiving Day A Public Holiday Under Employment Standards Act, 2000

    TORONTO, Oct. 9 /CNW/ -


    Many employees will get the day off with public holiday pay on
Thanksgiving Day on Monday October 13, 2008. Thanksgiving Day is one of nine
public holidays under Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000.


    Generally, employees qualify for Thanksgiving Day entitlements unless
they fail, without reasonable cause, to work:

    -   Their entire regularly-scheduled shift before or after Thanksgiving
        Day; or
    -   Their entire shift on Thanksgiving Day 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 Thanksgiving Day plus any vacation pay
payable during that period, divided by 20.
    Employees who qualify for Thanksgiving Day 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 Thanksgiving Day.


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

    -   Be paid their regular rate for all hours worked on Thanksgiving Day
        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 Thanksgiving Day.


    If Thanksgiving Day 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
Thanksgiving Day with no substitute day off.


    Generally, employees who don't qualify for public holiday entitlements
must work on Thanksgiving Day 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 Thanksgiving Day. There is no substitute day off.
    If a non-qualified employee is not asked to work on Thanksgiving Day, he
or she gets the day 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 Thanksgiving
Day even if they don't qualify for public holiday entitlements.
    Retail employees who have agreed to work on Thanksgiving Day may still
refuse the assignment if they give their employer 48 hours advance notice
before the first hour of work on Thanksgiving Day.
    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
Thanksgiving Day.

    Hospital, continuous operations and hospitality employees

    Employees in hospitals, continuous operations and the hospitality
industry may be required to work on Thanksgiving Day if it falls on a day 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

    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
Thanksgiving Day.


    Some employees are not eligible for Thanksgiving Day 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 purposes
    -   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, visit the nearest ServiceOntario Centre, or the Ministry of Labour's website at ( For further information: ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Public enquiries (Employees and Employers): Pay rates and time off: Store openings Ministry of Labour Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Services (416) 326-7160 or (416) 326-8800 or 1-800-531-5551 1-800-889-9768 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Disponible en français

For further information:

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

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