Legislative Compliance

What Canadian employers should know about holidays that fall on the weekend

December 9, 2021

With the holiday season underway, some businesses are gearing up for their busiest time of year, while others are winding down and preparing for 2022. The holiday season will look a little different this year with teams gathering virtually and in-person and public holidays falling on the weekend. Here are three ways to help you prepare for and celebrate this festive season!

1. Communicate holiday pay and time off

Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day all fall on a weekend this year. When a holiday occurs on a non-regular workday, employees have different entitlements depending on jurisdiction. To avoid any potential questions or confusion, let your employees know what to expect in advance.

Keep in mind that if your business operates in multiple jurisdictions, entitlements are based on where the employee works, not necessarily where the organization’s head office is. Industry-specific rules and exemptions may also apply to your organization.


  • A holiday with pay on the working day immediately before or after the general holiday.



  • No entitlements to general holiday pay or a substitute holiday.


British Columbia

  • A day off in lieu of the holiday with the agreement of the majority of affected employees.



  • A day off with holiday pay on the first workday after the holiday.


New Brunswick

  • Regular wages for the public holiday with employee’s agreement OR a working day off with pay, scheduled no later than their next vacation.


Newfoundland and Labrador

  • A day off with pay on the first workday immediately following the public holiday OR a different day off with pay, mutually agreed upon by employer and employee.


Northwest Territories

  • An average day’s pay OR an employer can apply to an employment standards officer to substitute another holiday for the statutory holiday with the consent of the majority of employees.


Nova Scotia

  • A holiday with pay on the workday immediately following the general holiday OR the workday immediately following the employee’s vacation OR another day agreed upon by employee and employer.



  • General holiday pay OR a holiday with pay on a date convenient for the employer and employee, scheduled before the employee’s next vacation or their termination of employment.



  • A substitute day off on what would be a normal workday, with holiday pay. The employer must provide the employee with a written and dated statement before the public holiday stating that the holiday is being substituted and the day that is being substituted. The substitute day must be within three months after the public holiday or, if the employer and employee agree, no later than 12 months after the public holiday.


Prince Edward Island

  • A holiday with pay on the workday immediately following the paid holiday OR the workday immediately after the employee’s vacation OR another day agreed upon by the employer and employee before their next vacation.



  • Holiday pay OR a one-day compensatory holiday on a date agreed upon by the employee and employer.



  • An employer may substitute a specified workday for the public holiday with the approval of the director of employment standards.


  • A holiday with pay on the workday immediately following the general holiday.

2. Give back to the community

The holiday season is a good time to reflect on the connections and impact your business has in your local community. In honour of the season of giving, consider different ways you can help during the holidays and beyond. Not only will you be supporting your community, but corporate social responsibility is also key for growing your business.

Giving back can take on many forms, and even small acts can go a long way. Here are a few different ways you can help your community:

  • Make a one-time donation to a non-profit organization or charity that aligns with the values of your organization.
  • Donate your products or services to a local charity.
  • Give your employees time off to volunteer, or volunteer together as a team. A survey by Randstad found that 71% of Canadians would do unpaid volunteer work if their employer offered time off.
  • Sponsor an event or donate a raffle package of your products or services.
  • Work with local charities to find out their needs and how you can help, even beyond the holiday season. As part of our community initiative HRdonates, we support a deserving charity or non-profit organization each month. We are proud to support our community, and we welcome you to join us!

3. Celebrate your employees

2021 has been another year filled with changes and challenges. Recognition is an important part of employee happiness at work, so remember to show appreciation for your team’s ability to adapt and excel. By recognizing and rewarding your team, you can end the year on a high note and improve employee engagement.

While there continue to be some challenges with hosting large in-person celebrations, there are many ways you can still spread some holiday cheer.

  • Give employees extra time off. If feasible, consider closing even a few hours early so employees can spend additional time with their families.
  • Send holiday gifts, such as company swag, gift cards, self-care kits, or a personalized gift basket.
  • Write personalized notes or cards specifically thanking each team member for their work this year.
  • Spend some time at your next staff meeting acknowledging what you appreciate most about each team member.
  • Treat employees to a meal. While it may be difficult to gather everyone in person, consider sending vouchers so employees can get their favourite takeout or delivery. To celebrate together, invite everyone to order food and join in for a virtual holiday party.

Talk to representative today to find out how our team can help you keep up-to-date with legislative requirements and HR trends.