Landscape in BC

An Employer’s Guide to Statutory Holidays in British Columbia 2024

When are the 2024 statutory holidays in British Columbia?

New Year’s DayMonday, January 1 
Family DayMonday, February 19
Good FridayFriday, March 29
Victoria DayMonday, May 20
Canada DayMonday, July 1
British Columbia DayMonday, August 5
Labour DayMonday, September 2
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Monday, September 30
Thanksgiving DayMonday, October 14
Remembrance DayMonday, November 11
Christmas DayWednesday, December 25

Every year, organizations must acknowledge and provide employee entitlements for all statutory holidays in their jurisdiction. Some businesses close on holidays, while others remain open, but most employees are entitled to holiday pay on statutory holidays. Since holidays occur every calendar year, we receive numerous questions about employer responsibilities, so let’s demystify holidays. 

British Columbia’s statutory holiday rules

Statutory holidays are holidays established under provincial or territorial legislation. Some statutory holidays occur nationwide, while others are unique to a jurisdiction. 

British Columbia observes 11 statutory holidays. Other annually occurring holidays like Boxing Day and Easter Monday are not legislated holidays in British Columbia but might be observed at an employer’s discretion. See our article on shutting down for non-statutory holidays for details on planning a legally compliant closure. 

For more information on legislated requirements and entitlements for statutory holidays in British Columbia, see Part 5 of the Employment Standards Act

What are the statutory holidays in British Columbia?

New Year’s DayJanuary 1
Family DayThe third Monday in February
Good FridayThe Friday before Easter Sunday
Victoria DayThe Monday before May 25
Canada DayJuly 1 unless that is a Sunday, then Monday,
July 2, replaces July 1
British Columbia DayThe first Monday in August 
Labour DayThe first Monday in September
National Day for Truth and ReconciliationSeptember 30
Thanksgiving DayThe second Monday in October
Remembrance DayNovember 11
Christmas DayDecember 25

Requirements differ for each jurisdiction when a holiday falls on the weekend. For more details, check out our guide to what happens when holidays fall on the weekend

Who qualifies for statutory holiday pay in British Columbia?

Most workers in British Columbia are eligible for statutory holiday entitlements if they have been employed for 30 calendar days leading up to the holiday and either have earned a wage on at least 15 of those days or worked under an averaging agreement within those 30 days. 

If an employee does not qualify for statutory holiday pay, they should be paid their regular wage for all hours worked on a holiday. 

To determine whether special rules apply, refer to British Columbia’s Employment Standards Regulation.

How do you calculate holiday pay in British Columbia?

Employees who get the day off work on a public holiday must be paid their average daily wage for that day. You can calculate the average daily wage by dividing the total wages paid or payable to the employee (excluding overtime) in the 30-day period before the holiday by the number of days the employee worked or earned wages in that period. 

Employees are entitled to holiday pay regardless of whether the statutory holiday falls on the employee’s regularly scheduled day off from work. If a statutory holiday occurs during an employee’s vacation, the statutory holiday is observed and it is not counted as a vacation day towards the employee’s vacation entitlement. 

Performing work on a statutory holiday: Employees who work on a statutory holiday are paid 1.5 times their regular wages for all hours worked on the holiday up to 12 hours, and double their regular wages for any time worked over 12 hours. They also receive holiday pay as calculated above. 

Refer to the government of British Columbia’s public holidays webpage for more information. 

Substitute holidays: If the employer and the employee agree, the employer may substitute another day off work for a statutory holiday. Employees are entitled to the same rights and benefits on the substitute holiday as a statutory holiday. 

Can I require employees to work on a statutory holiday in British Columbia?

Yes, you may require employees to work on a holiday, but you must provide applicable entitlements to any employee who works on a holiday.

Managing statutory holiday entitlements

Employers, managers, and supervisors must have a thorough understanding of holiday entitlements to remain compliant. Implementing concise and comprehensive policies clearly conveys who qualifies for holiday pay, when it is applicable, and how to navigate special circumstances. Our experts can quickly create a holiday policy tailored to your business, or you can use one of our handy customizable templates. 

Failure to provide employees with the correct statutory holiday entitlements violates British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act, so staying compliant is crucial. 

Does your employee handbook address statutory holiday time off? 

Need a second opinion on whether your current holiday policy is right for your workplace? Our team of tenured HR professionals can help! Live HR Advice offers unlimited on-demand phone support from senior HR advisors who have experience across all industries and extensive knowledge about what’s trending in HR. Call as many times as you need with any HR question, big or small, and get tailored recommendations for your workplace. To learn more, chat with one of our representatives

Check out our other stat holiday guides