Bereavement          Holidays           Vacation Leave

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Disclaimer: The information contained herein is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue.  Users are advised to seek legal advice from their legal counsel prior to taking (or omitting to take) any action based on the information contained herein.  While we periodically review and update the information contained herein, we do not warrant or guarantee the quality, accuracy or completeness of any information contained herein and the information should not be relied upon as accurate, timely or fit for any particular purpose. This information was constructed on October 15th 2018.

What are Federally Regulated Employees entitled to in terms of Sick/Medical Leave in Canada?

Federally Regulated Employees include the following

If you are employed by one of the following businesses and industries, you are more than likely working in a federally regulated sector:

  • banks
  • marine shipping, ferry and port services
  • air transportation, including airports, aerodromes and airlines
  • railway and road transportation that involves crossing provincial or international borders
  • canals, pipelines, tunnels and bridges (crossing provincial borders)
  • telephone, telegraph and cable systems
  • radio and television broadcasting
  • grain elevators, feed and seed mills
  • uranium mining and processing
  • businesses dealing with the protection of fisheries as a natural resource
  • many First Nation activities
  • most federal Crown corporations
  • private businesses necessary to the operation of a federal act

 

Federally regulated employees are entitled to unpaid leave, except bereavement leave which is paid.

Annual vacation

Federally regulated employees are entitled to a minimum of two weeks of vacation annually after completing one year of employment with the same employer. After six consecutive years of employment with the same employer, the entitlement increases to three weeks of vacation annually.

Alberta

Vacation Leave

Employers must provide an annual vacation to most employees based on length of service to make sure they can rest from work without loss of income.

Employers must give vacation time, and employees must take the vacation to which they’re entitled.

Employees must work for one year before they’re entitled to vacation time

Employees are entitled to these minimum paid vacations:

  • 2 weeks with pay after each of the first 4 years of employment
  • 3 weeks with pay after 5 consecutive years of employment

 

Employee eligibility

Basic eligibility

Most employees are entitled to vacation time and vacation pay after being employed for one year.

However, upon employee request and employer’s acceptance, an employee can take vacation with pay before completing a full 12 months of employment.

Exemptions from the minimum standards for vacations and vacation pay

Some employees who work in specified industries and professions aren’t eligible for annual vacations and vacation pay, including:

  • licensed or registered salespersons of real estate and securities
  • commission salespersons who solicit orders principally outside the place of business of their employer; route salespersons are not exempt
  • extras in a film or video production
  • licensed insurance salespersons who are paid entirely by commission income

Exceptions to the minimum standards for vacations and vacation pay

Construction workers

Employers aren’t required to give their construction employees vacation time. However, construction employees must be paid vacation pay of at least 6% of their wages.

Vacation time

Employee entitlements

Employers must give vacation time and employees must take the vacation to which they’re entitled. Where employees have already been paid vacation pay, their time off will be without additional pay.

How vacation time is calculated

The minimum vacation pay and vacation time is accrued during 12-month periods as follows:

Length of employment

Number of weeks' annual vacation

Less than 1 year

Not entitled unless stated in contract

1 to 5 years

2 weeks

More than 5 years

3 weeks

Timing of vacations

Employees must take their vacation time sometime in the 12 months after they earn it.

Length of vacations

An employer is required to provide annual vacations to employees.  Employers are to provide vacations in one unbroken period, however, an employee can request, in writing, for the vacation to be broken into shorter periods and if the request can be accommodated, the employer should provide this.

Vacation time is allowed to be taken in half-day increments if agreed to by the employer and employee.

Disagreements about vacation dates

Employers are allowed to deny requests for vacation at specific times due to operational reasons.  If the employer and employee can’t agree on the employee’s vacation time, the employer can decide when it will be taken. However, the employer must give the employee at least 2 weeks’ notice in writing of the vacation start date.

When a general holiday falls during a vacation

If qualified for the general holiday, the employee can take off either the first scheduled working day after their vacation; or, in agreement with the employer, they can take another day that would otherwise have been a work day, before their next annual vacation.

Vacation pay

Employee entitlements

Vacation pay is based on an employee’s wages paid for work (not other earnings) at the time the vacation is taken.

For the purpose of calculating vacation pay, the definition of wages doesn’t include:

  • overtime pay
  • general holiday pay
  • termination pay
  • an unearned bonus
  • tips and gratuities, or
  • expenses and allowances

How vacation pay is calculated

For employees paid monthly

For employees paid by monthly salary, the employer must pay the employee’s regular rate of pay for the time of their vacation.

Each week of vacation pay is calculated by dividing their monthly wage by 4.3333 (which is the average number of weeks in a month).

For employees paid other than monthly

For employees who are paid hourly, weekly, or by commission or other incentive pay, the employer must pay:

Length of employment

Number of weeks' annual vacation

% of wages

Less than 1 year

Not entitled unless stated in contract

4% of wages

1 to 4 years

2 weeks

4% of yearly wages

5 years or more

3 weeks

6% of yearly wages

Change of benefits

Increasing vacation pay

If the employer agrees to provide vacation pay greater than required by the Code, Employment Standards can enforce this.

Reducing vacation pay

If the employer intends to reduce an employee's vacation pay, they must notify the employee before the start of the pay period in which the reduction takes effect. However, the rate must always be at least the minimum required by the legislated standards. This can only be applied on future vacation pay to be accrued and can’t be applied retroactively on vacation pay earned, but not yet paid to the employee.

An employee’s annual vacation period can also be reduced if that employee is absent from work. The reduction in vacation period may be made in proportion to the number of days the employee was or would normally have been scheduled to work, but did not.

When vacation pay is paid out

When an employer pays an employee vacation pay each pay period, they must pay it:

  • at least once a month,
  • on each pay period, or
  • at least one day before the employee’s vacation if vacation pay has not previously been paid out, and the employee requests it, and
  • no later than the next regular pay day after the vacation begins

An employer must provide an employee with a statement of earnings that includes vacation pay at the end of each pay period.

Anniversary date

Employers can establish a common anniversary date for employees, for vacation purposes. However, an employee must not lose any entitlement to vacation time or pay as a result of the introduction of a common anniversary date.

Change of ownership

When a business changes ownership, it doesn’t affect an employee’s vacation benefit entitlement. The previous owner must pay all vacation pay accumulated up to the date of transfer of ownership, and the new owner must grant any vacation time accumulated.

Vacation pay owed at termination

Before 12 months of employment

If employment terminates before an employee completes 12 months of employment, the employer must pay 4% of the employee’s wages earned during employment.

After 12 months of employment

If employment terminates after an employee becomes entitled to annual vacation, the employer must pay the unpaid vacation entitlements for the previous year, plus:

for an employee who’s entitled to 2 weeks’ vacation:

  • at least 4% of the employee’s wages for the period from the date they last became entitled to an annual vacation to employment termination date

for an employee who is entitled to 3 weeks’ vacation:

  • at least 6% of the employee’s wages for the period from the date they last became entitled to an annual vacation to employment termination date

Timing of payout

Employers are prohibited from requiring employees to use vacation entitlements during the termination notice period, unless agreed to by both parties.

Where proper termination notice is given, vacation pay must be paid within 3 days of termination.

Where neither the employer nor employee have to give termination notice, vacation pay must be paid within 10 days of termination.

If an employee quits without giving proper termination notice, the employer must pay vacation pay to the employee within 10 days after the date on which the notice would have expired if it had been given.

[Part 2, Division 6 of the Employment Standards Code sets the general rules for vacations and vacation pay.]

British Colombia

Vacation Leave

The Employment Standards Act provides that employees are entitled to take time off for annual vacation and to be paid vacation pay.

Eligibility

Employees who are employed for five calendar days or less are not entitled to be paid annual vacation pay. Vacation pay for farm workers who are paid a piece-rate for harvesting is included in the piece rates. All other employees earn vacation pay on all wages earned from the first day of employment.

After being employed for 12 months, an employee becomes entitled to receive an annual vacation.

If an employer agrees to give an employee more vacation or vacation pay than the Act requires, the Employment Standards Branch can enforce this agreement.

An employer cannot reduce an employee’s annual vacation or vacation pay because the employee was paid a bonus or sick pay or was previously given a vacation longer than the minimum.

Annual vacation entitlement

During the first year of employment, an employee earns vacation time to be taken in the second year of employment. After completing twelve months of employment, an employee has earned two weeks of annual vacation to be taken in the following year. This means that starting in the second year, an employee is entitled to take the vacation earned in the year before.

After completing five years of employment, an employee becomes entitled to three weeks of annual vacation.

An employee is entitled to take his or her annual vacation within twelve months after it is earned.

An employee may make a written request for an annual vacation before becoming entitled to one. If the employer agrees, this vacation time taken “in advance” reduces the amount of vacation time remaining when the employee becomes entitled to a vacation.

Scheduling vacations

An employer must schedule an employee’s annual vacation in periods of one or more weeks unless the employee requests a shorter period.
 
An employer has the right to schedule vacations according to business requirements as long as the employer ensures that an employee receives a vacation within twelve months after becoming entitled to it.

If a statutory holiday occurs during a vacation, an employee who qualifies for the statutory holiday is entitled to be paid statutory holiday pay for that day. The employee, however, is not entitled to an additional day off.

The Act does not permit an employee to forego an annual vacation and only receive the vacation pay.  Employers are required to ensure that employees:

  • Take time off for their annual vacation; and
  • Receive their vacation pay.

Vacation pay

When an employee takes an annual vacation earned in the previous year of employment, the employer must pay vacation pay of at least four per cent of all wages paid to the employee in that previous year.

Any vacation pay received by an employee becomes part of the total wages paid in that year. 

Vacation pay is payable at least seven days before the start of the annual vacation.

If agreed to in writing by the employer and the employee, vacation pay may be paid on every cheque.

After the employee completes five years of employment, the employer must pay vacation pay of at least six per cent of all wages earned in the previous year.

Upon termination of employment, an employee must be paid all outstanding vacation pay with the final paycheque.

Employer Records

The employer’s payroll records must indicate the dates of the annual vacation taken by the employee, the amounts paid by the employer and the days and amounts owing.

The amount of vacation pay paid must be indicated on the employee’s pay statement.

Leave

The length of service of an employee on an approved leave under the Act is deemed to be uninterrupted for the purposes of calculating annual vacation entitlement.

Sale or transfer of a business

The sale, lease or transfer of a business does not affect the length of service of an employee who was still employed by the business at the time of the disposition.

Commission sales

Employees who are paid by commission must take annual vacation and receive vacation pay the same as other employees. Vacation pay cannot be incorporated into the commission rate. Commissions which become payable during an employee’s annual vacation do not become vacation pay. Vacation pay must be paid on all commissions earned.

 

Manitoba

Vacation Leave

Employees must receive at least 2 weeks of vacation per year for the first four years of employment, and a minimum of 3 weeks of vacation after the fifth consecutive year.

For each week of vacation, employees are entitled to 2% of the wages earned in that year, meaning that, employers may put vacation pay on every cheque, or they may choose to pay out at the time of the vacation leave.

How long is a vacation?

Employees must receive at least two weeks of vacation after each of the first four years of employment. After completing 5 years of work with the same employer, employees must receive a minimum of 3 weeks of vacation.

What are employees paid while on vacation?

Vacation pay is calculated based on the gross earnings in the previous year. Employees who are entitled to two weeks of vacation receive 4% of their gross wages as vacation pay and employees with three weeks’ vacation receive 6%.

Can employers give more vacation?

For each week of vacation, employees earn 2% of their gross wages.  Under The Employment Standards Code, the minimum amount of vacation does not increase beyond 3 weeks of vacation after 5 years of service. Employers can, and often do, give employees more vacation than is required by law.

What is included in gross wages for vacation pay?

Gross wages include all regular wages and any general holiday pay. Regular wages include hours paid as commission, salary, hourly, bonuses tied to productivity and any other wages paid as compensation for the regular hours of work.

Overtime wages, wages in lieu of notice, and the previous year's vacation wages are not included in the calculation.

When are employees paid their vacation pay?

Employers decide when vacation pay is to be paid. However, it must be paid no later than the last day of work before the vacation and within 10 months of earning it.

Can employers put vacation pay on every cheque?

Employers may put vacation pay on every cheque. Employees are still entitled to take time off as vacation, but because it has already been paid, they do not receive any additional vacation pay while they are off.

When do employees start earning vacation time and pay?

All employees start earning vacation time and pay from their first day of work for an employer.  

When can employees take their vacation?

Employees are eligible for vacation once they have completed one year of work and must take their vacation within 10 months of it being earned. Employees and their employers can agree on when vacation will be taken.

If an employer and employee cannot agree on when the vacation will be taken, the employer sets the vacation date. The employer must give the employee 15 days’ notice before the vacation is to be taken and cannot divide the vacation into periods shorter than one week. Employers can choose to schedule their employees' vacations as part of an annual shut down.

What if a general holiday falls during employees’ vacations?

General holidays are not counted as a vacation day. If a general holiday falls during an employee’s vacation, the employee receives another day of vacation and general holiday wages for the day of the general holiday. See the General Holiday page for more information.

How do unpaid leaves affect vacations and vacation pay?

During a legislated or approved leave, employment is considered continuous.  The time employees are away on leave counts toward their years of service when determining how much vacation they are entitled to. Employees who return from leave are entitled to their full vacation time because they are still employed while on the leave.

Vacation pay for employees who have taken a leave remains the same as for other employees, 4% of gross wages for 2 weeks vacation and 6% for those who have earned 3 weeks vacation.  If they were not earning wages while on the leave, the amount earned as vacation pay will be lower than it would have been otherwise.

What are deemed to be hours of work when calculating overtime?

Employees whose hours of work are greater than 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week are entitled to overtime wages of 1 ½ time their regular wage rate.  General holidays, vacation leave, and paid sick time are all deemed to be hours of work for the purpose of calculating overtime.

What if employment ends before employees take their vacation?

When employment ends, employees must be paid within 10 working days from the last day worked, all of the vacation pay that has been earned. Since vacation pay is earned from the first day of work, employees who have not yet completed one year of service are paid the portion they earned from the day they started with the employer.   

Can vacation be used as a notice of termination?

Employers cannot use vacation for the notice period when terminating employment. 

When employees are terminating employment, they may use vacation for the notice period if the employer agrees.  Employees are entitled to all outstanding vacation pay when their employment ends.  See the Termination of Employment fact sheet for more information.   

How are years of service determined for seasonal employees?

The employment of employees who work in a seasonal industry is deemed to be continuous if they return to work with the same employer each season.   Each consecutive season they return adds one more year of service.  Employees are entitled to 3 weeks vacation and vacation wages at 6% of their total gross earnings after 5 years of service (seasons) with the same employer.  

Can employers establish a common anniversary date for earning vacation, for all employees?

Employers can choose to have a common anniversary date so all employees receive their new vacation entitlements at the same time.  Because all employees earn vacation pay from their first day of work, new employees will receive the portion they earned from the day they started and the common anniversary date. For example: if an employer establishes July 1 as the common anniversary and new employees starts work on January 1, new employees will have worked ½ a year on the common anniversary date. These employees must receive ½ of their vacation time and 4% of their earnings up to July 1 as vacation pay.

New-Brunswick

Vacation Leave

Employers are required to give all their employees an annual vacation leave with vacation pay dependent on each individual employee’s years of service.

An employee who has less than eight years of employment with the employer is entitled to a vacation leave of the lesser of the following two options:

  • at least one day for each month worked, or
  • at least two weeks of vacation per vacation year.

An employee who has more than eight years of employment with the employer is entitled to a vacation leave for the lesser of the following two options:

  • at least one and one-quarter day for each month worked, or
  • at least three weeks of vacation per vacation year

An employee who has less than eight years of employment with the employer is entitled to receive a vacation pay equal to four percent of his gross wages (before deductions).

An employee who has eight or more years of employment with the employer is entitled to receive a vacation pay equal to six percent of his gross wages (before deductions).

In both cases, the employee must receive all his accumulated vacation pay at least one day before his vacation begins.

An employee is entitled to take a vacation after completing one year of service with the same employer. The employer must give the employee his vacation no later than four months after earning the vacation time. Employers and their employees can agree on when vacation should be taken. If an agreement cannot be reached, the employer can decide when the employee’s vacation will begin as long as he provides the employee at least one week notice prior to the vacation start date.

An employee who is terminated or quits before taking vacation time is entitled to receive all outstanding vacation pay when the employment ceases. Payment must be made when the employee receives his final pay cheque.

https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/petl-epft/PDF/es/FactSheets/PublicHolidaysVacation.pdf

Newfoundland and Labrador

Vacation Leave

The Newfoundland and Labrador Employment Standards Act regulates that employees are required to take time off for annual vacation and to be paid vacation time. After being employed for 12 months, an employee becomes entitled to receive an annual vacation. 

Who is eligible for vacation pay?

Any employee who has been employed for 5 calendar days or more is eligible. 

What are the employer’s responsibilities revolving around the annual vacation entitlement?

An employer must:

  • give an employee an annual vacation of
  • At least 2 weeks after 12 consecutive months of employment, or
  • At least 3 weeks after 15 years with the same employer.
  •  ensure an employee takes an annual vacation within 10 months after completing the year of employment entitling the employee to the vacation.
  •  allow an employee who is entitled to an annual vacation to take it in periods of one or more weeks.
  • pay the employee vacation:
  • at least one day before the employee goes on vacation, or
  • each pay period as long as the employee is advised and the amount of vacation pay is indicated in the employer’s payroll, or
  • within one week of termination. 

How is vacation pay calculated?

An eligible employee is entitled to:

  • 4% of gross wages, including commissions and overtime, during the year of employment entitling the employee to the vacation pay if the employee has been employed for longer than 5 days, or
  • 6% of gross wages, including commissions and overtime, during the year of employment entitling the employee to the vacation pay if the employee has been employed, by the same employer, for longer than 15 years. 

Nova Scotia

Vacation Leave

The Nova Scotia Labour Standards Code regulates that employees are required to take time off for annual vacation and to be paid vacation time. Although employees begin earning vacation on their first day of employment, an employee becomes entitled to receive an annual vacation after being employed for 12 months.

What are the employer’s responsibilities revolving around the annual vacation entitlement?

An employer is responsible to give an employee an annual vacation of:

  • At least 2 weeks after 12 consecutive months of employment, or
  • At least 3 weeks after 8 years of employment with the same employer.
  • Ensure employees take a vacation within 10 months of earning it.
  • Help employees determine when their vacation will be taken.

Generally, employers let their employees choose when to take vacation time; however, the employer has the final say and must notify employees when their vacation will begin at least one week in advance.

 If the employer and employee agree, the vacation time can be broken up into two or more periods.

Employees who work full time must take vacation time. Those who work less than 90 per cent of regular working hours during the 12 months when they earned vacation can give up vacation time and just collect their vacation pay.

How is vacation pay calculated?

An eligible employee is entitled to:

  • 4% of gross wages if the employee has been employed for less than 8 years.
  • 6% of gross wages if the employee has been employed by the same employer for 8 years or longer.

Vacation pay must be paid:

  • At least one day before the employee goes on vacation, or
  • Included with the employee’s hourly rate on every pay cheque

If an employee is terminated the vacation pay must be received within one week of termination.

The employer must make it clear to each employee how they are being paid their vacation pay. The employer can do this by:

  • Showing accumulated vacation pay on every pay stub, or
  • Showing on the pay stub that vacation pay is paid out with each pay, or
  • Having employees sign a clear statement acknowledging they are aware that vacation pay is included in their hourly rate of pay, or
  • Stating each paystub that vacation pay is included in the hourly rate of pay.

Ontario

Vacation Leave

Employees with less than five years of employment are entitled to two weeks of vacation time after each 12-month vacation entitlement year.

Employees with five or more years of employment are entitled to three weeks of vacation time. Ordinarily, a vacation entitlement year is a recurring 12-month period beginning on the date of hire.

Where the employer has established an alternative vacation entitlement year that begins on a date other than the date of hire, the employee is also entitled to a pro-rated amount of vacation time for the period (called a “stub period”) that precedes the alternative vacation entitlement year.

Vacation pay must be at least four per cent of the gross wages (excluding any vacation pay) earned in the 12-month vacation entitlement year or stub period (where that applies) for employees with less than five years of employment.

Employees with five or more years of employment at the end of a 12-month vacation entitlement year or stub period (if any) are entitled to at least six per cent of the gross wages earned in the 12-month vacation entitlement year or stub period.

An employee’s contract of employment or a collective agreement may provide a greater right or benefit with respect to vacation time and/or pay.

An employee who does not complete either the full vacation entitlement year or the stub period (if any) does not qualify for vacation time under the ESA. However, employees earn vacation pay as they earn wages. Therefore, if an employee works even just one hour, they are still entitled to at least four per cent (or six per cent, depending on the length of employment) of the hour’s wages as vacation pay.

Vacation entitlement year and stub period will include the time the employee spends away from work because of:

  • layoff
  • sickness or injury
  • pregnancy, parental, personal emergency, declared an emergency, family caregiver, family medical, critical illness, organ donor, reservist, domestic or sexual violence, child death, or crime-related child disappearance leaves
  • any other approved leaves (i.e. where there is no break in the employment relationship).

Transitional rules

The increased entitlements to vacation time and vacation pay (three weeks’ vacation time and six per cent vacation pay) for employees with five or more years of employment only apply to vacation entitlement years or stub periods that end on or after December 31, 2017. Employers are not required to provide the increased entitlements if the vacation entitlement year or stub period ended before December 31, 2017.

However, for the vacation entitlement year that began on November 1, 2017, and ends on

Vacation time

The entitlement to two or three weeks of vacation time is determined by the employee’s period of employment upon completion of each vacation entitlement year. If the employee has been with the employer for less than five years at the end of the vacation entitlement year, the employee is entitled to two weeks of vacation time for that year. Likewise, if the employee’s period of employment is five years or more upon the completion of the vacation entitlement year, the employee’s entitlement is three weeks of vacation time for that year.

An employment contract or collective agreement may provide a greater vacation time entitlement.

Standard vacation entitlement year

If the vacation entitlement year is a standard one, 12 months after the date of hire, the employee will be entitled to a minimum of two weeks of vacation time. The employee will also be entitled to two weeks after completing each of the next four 12-month vacation entitlement years. The employee will then be entitled to three weeks of vacation after completing the fifth vacation entitlement year and for each vacation entitlement year thereafter.

Alternative vacation entitlement year

If an employer sets an alternative vacation entitlement year, the employee will be entitled to a pro-rated amount of two weeks’ vacation for the stub period preceding the start of the first alternative vacation entitlement year. The employee will then be entitled to a minimum of two weeks of vacation time after completing each alternative vacation entitlement year until the employee reaches the five-year employment threshold. Upon completing the vacation entitlement year in which the employee reaches five years, the employee will be entitled to three weeks of vacation time for that vacation entitlement year and for each vacation entitlement year thereafter.

Deadlines for taking a vacation

The vacation time earned for a vacation entitlement year or a stub period must be taken within 10 months after completing that year or stub period. The employer has the right to schedule vacation as well as an obligation to ensure the vacation time is scheduled and taken before the end of that 10-month period.

If the deadline under the ESA for taking a vacation comes up when an employee is on pregnancy, parental, personal emergency, declared emergency, family caregiver, family medical, critical illness, organ donor, reservist, domestic or sexual violence, child death or crime-related child disappearance leave, the vacation must be taken when the leave ends or at a later date with the agreement (in writing) of the employer and the employee.

Likewise, if an employee’s contract requires that some or all of their vacation must be taken within a specified period that comes up when the employee is on a leave and the employee would otherwise have to give up some or all of their vacation entitlements under the contract, the employee may defer taking the vacation until the leave ends or take it a later date with the agreement (electronically or in writing) of the employer and employee.

How to schedule vacation time earned for a vacation entitlement year

For employees whose period of employment is less than five years, employers are required to schedule the vacation time earned each vacation entitlement year in a block of two weeks or in two one-week blocks. For employees whose period of employment is five years or more, employers must schedule the vacation time earned each vacation entitlement year in a block of:

  • three weeks
  • a two-week period and a one-week period, or
  • three periods of one week

The exception in both cases is if the employee makes a written request and the employer agrees electronically or in writing to shorter periods. In that case, it is necessary to calculate the number of single vacation days to which the employee is entitled.

Forgoing vacation time

An employee can give up some or all of their earned vacation time with the employer’s electronic or written agreement, and the approval of the Director of Employment Standards. This approval does not affect an employer’s obligation to pay the employee vacation pay; employees may give up vacation time, but not the right to vacation pay

Vacation pay

Employees must receive a minimum of either four per cent or six per cent of the gross wages (excluding vacation pay) they earned for the 12-month vacation entitlement year or stub period.

An employee whose period of employment is less than five years upon completion of a vacation entitlement year or stub period is entitled to vacation pay calculated as four per cent of all the wages (excluding vacation pay) earned in the vacation entitlement year or stub period.

An employee whose period of employment is five years or more upon completion of a vacation entitlement year or period is entitled to vacation pay calculated as six per cent of all the wages (excluding vacation pay) earned during the vacation entitlement year or stub period.

An employee who reaches the five-year employment threshold partway through the vacation entitlement year or stub period is entitled to vacation pay calculated as six per cent of all the wages (excluding vacation pay) earned in the vacation entitlement year or stub period. (It doesn’t matter whether the employee’s period of employment was five years or more when the vacation entitlement year or stub period began, or if the employee reached that threshold partway through).

If an employee’s contract or collective agreement provides a better vacation benefit than the minimum required, the employee may be entitled to a higher percentage of their gross earnings for vacation pay.

The gross wages on which vacation pay is calculated to include:

  • regular earnings, including commissions;
  • bonuses and gifts that are non-discretionary or are related to hours of work;
  • overtime pay;
  • public holiday pay;
  • termination pay;
  • allowances for room and board; and
  • personal emergency leave pay and domestic or sexual violence leave pay.

But do not include:

  • vacation pay paid out or earned but not yet paid;
  • tips and gratuities;
  • discretionary bonuses and gifts that are not related to hours of work, production or efficiency (e.g. a Christmas bonus unrelated to performance);
  • expenses and traveling allowances;
  • living allowances;
  • contributions made by an employer to a benefit plan and payments from a benefit plan (e.g. sick pay) that an employee is entitled to;
  • federal employment insurance benefits;
  • severance pay.

When to pay vacation pay

In most cases, the vacation pay earned during a completed vacation entitlement year or stub period must be paid to an employee in a lump sum sometime before they take the vacation time earned. There are four exceptions:

  • When the vacation time is being taken in periods of less than one week.

In this case, the employee must be paid vacation pay on or before the pay day for the period in which the vacation falls.

  • When the employee has agreed electronically or in writing that their vacation pay will be paid on each pay cheque as it accrues (accumulates).

In this case, the employee's wage statement may show clearly the amount of the vacation pay being paid. This amount must also be shown separately from any other amounts paid.

Alternatively, the employer must issue a separate statement for the vacation pay being paid.

  • If the employer pays the employee their wages by direct deposit into an account at a financial institution.

In this case, the employee must be paid vacation pay on or before the pay day for the period in which the vacation falls.

  • When employment ends

When employment ends (for example, where an employee quits or the employment is terminated), an employee is entitled to vacation pay that they have earned and that has not yet been paid. In some cases, this would include vacation pay earned during a previous vacation entitlement year or stub period as well as the vacation pay earned during a current one.

An employee whose employment is terminated during a vacation entitlement period and before the five-year employment threshold will be entitled on termination to vacation pay of four per cent of the wages earned during that last (partially completed) vacation entitlement period (plus any outstanding vacation pay earned in previously completed vacation entitlement periods).

An employee who reached five years with the employer prior to being terminated, and before or during the last (partially completed) vacation entitlement period, would be entitled to six per cent of all the wages earned in that (partially completed) vacation entitlement year (plus any outstanding vacation pay earned in previously completed vacation entitlement periods).

Vacation pay is payable on termination pay but not on severance pay.

Vacation and public holidays

public holiday could fall during an employee's vacation period. In that case, the day remains a vacation day for the employee, and if the employee qualifies for the public holiday, the employee is entitled to one of the following:

  • the employee can have a substitute day off work with public holiday pay. This must be taken within three months of the public holiday or, if the employee agrees electronically or in writing, within 12 months of the public holiday;
    or
  • the employer can pay public holiday pay for that day without giving the employee a substitute day off work, if the employee agrees electronically or in writing.

Employees may also agree electronically or in writing to work on a public holiday that falls while they are on vacation.

Vacation and leaves of absence

Because there is no break in the employment relationship during a period of pregnancy, parental, personal emergency, declared emergency, family caregiver, family medical, critical illness, domestic or sexual violence, organ donor, reservist, child death or crime-related child disappearance leave, the time on leave counts toward the completion of a vacation entitlement year or stub period.

Where an employee’s contract provides that “paid vacation” is earned through active service (e.g., 1.5 paid vacation days for each month of service or three weeks paid vacation for each year of service) an employee on leave may not earn either vacation time and/or pay while on leave. However, at the end of the vacation entitlement year or stub period, the employer must ensure the employee receives the greater of what was in fact earned under the contract and the minimum vacation time and vacation pay, they would have earned under the ESA.

An employee who is on a pregnancy, parental, personal emergency, declared emergency, family caregiver, family medical, critical illness, organ donor, reservist, domestic or sexual violence, child death or crime-related child disappearance leave has the right to defer taking her or his vacation entitlement until the leave of absence expires (or until some later date if the employer and employee agree). This is the case even if the employee’s contract of employment states that the employee is not allowed to defer taking vacation or restricts an employee’s ability to do so.

This means that an employee who is on a leave of absence under the ESA will not lose any vacation time or vacation pay because they are on a leave. It also ensures that an employee does not have to choose between taking less than their full leave entitlement and losing some or all of their vacation pay or vacation time.

An employee who has the right to defer vacation until the expiry of a leave of absence may forego their right to take vacation time, with the agreement of the employer and the approval of the Director of Employment Standards, Ministry of Labour. However, an employee cannot forego their right to be paid vacation pay.

Prince Edward Island

Vacation Leave

Where employees are not members of a labour union, the Employment Standards Act sets out the requirements for paid vacation.

If an employee is employed by the same employer for less than eight years, the Employment Standards Act says that employers must give every employee:

  • a vacation of two weeks after every 12 months of work and within the following four months (this four-month period can be varied if mutually agreed upon by the employer and the employee)
  • vacation pay of at least 4 per cent which the employer must pay at least 1 day before the vacation begins

An employer must tell the employee of his/her vacation at least one week before it begins. 

If an employee is employed by the same employer for eight years or more, the Employment Standards Act says that employers must give every employee:

  • a vacation of three weeks after every 12 months of work and within the following four months (this four-month period can be varied if mutually agreed upon by the employer and the employee)
  • vacation pay of at least 6 per cent which the employer must pay at least 1 day before the vacation begins
  • An employer must tell the employee of his/her vacation at least one week before it begins.

When an Employee Earns Vacation

An employee earns vacation pay and vacation during the first 12 months that he/she works for an employer and every 12 months after that.

Vacation Pay Included in the Hourly Rate

An employer can include vacation pay in an employee's hourly rate, which would be paid in every pay cheque if the employment is seasonal.

In that case, the employer:

  • must have proof that the employee knows vacation pay will be paid on every pay cheque, and
  • must show on payroll records that vacation pay has been paid to the employee, and
  • must show on the employee's pay stub that vacation pay is included in the pay cheque

Keeping Records

Employers must keep accurate payroll records, including information on vacations taken and vacation pay paid. 

Vacation Pay When Employment Ends

When employment ends, the employee is entitled to receive all accumulated vacation pay he/she has earned. The employer must include this money with the employee's final pay.

Quebec

Vacation Leave

Entitlement to a vacation is acquired during a period of 12 consecutive months. Known as the reference year, this period extends from May 1st to April 30th, except if the employer, a decree or an agreement set other dates.

The length of the vacation is established based on the employee’s period of uninterrupted service. As for the amount of the indemnity, it varies according to the wages earned during the reference year in effect in the enterprise.

UNINTERRUPTED SERVICE AT THE END OF THE REFERENCE YEAR

LENGTH OF VACATION

INDEMNITY

Less than one year

1 day per full month of uninterrupted service 
without exceeding 2 weeks

4 %

1 year to less than 5 years

2 uninterrupted weeks

4 %

5 years and over

3 uninterrupted weeks

6 %


For an employee of the clothing industry, the length of the vacation and the amount of the indemnity vary as follows:

UNINTERRUPTED SERVICE AT THE END OF THE REFERENCE YEAR

LENGTH OF VACATION

INDEMNITY

Less than one year

1 day per full month of uninterrupted service
without exceeding 2 weeks

4 %

1 year to less than 3 years

3 weeks, 2 weeks of which are continuous

6 %

3 years and over

4 weeks, 3 weeks of which are continuous

8 %

Employees who work in clothing stores are not part of the clothing industry.

Vacation

The employer has the privilege of setting the date of vacations. However:

  • he must inform the employee of the date of his vacation at least 4 weeks ahead of time
  • he cannot replace the vacation with a compensatory indemnity, except in the following cases:
    • when a collective agreement or a decree provides for a specific provision to this effect
    • when the establishment closes for 2 weeks during the vacation and when an employee entitled to 3 weeks asks to have the last week replaced with an indemnity.

Vacation taken Early

If an employee requests it, the employer may allow him to take his vacation, in whole or in part, during the reference year. They have the responsibility of establishing together what proportion of the indemnity will be paid. This proportion may:

  • correspond to the wages earned since the start of the reference year or during the entire reference year
  • be proportional to the length of the vacation.

Can an employer decide on his own that vacations will always be taken early in his enterprise?

No. If an employer gives a vacation to an employee who did not request it, the employer cannot say that this is an early vacation.

Postponed Vacation

An employee may ask to postpone his vacation to the following year if, at the end of the 12 months that follow the end of the reference year, he is absent or on leave:

  • due to sickness, accident, organ or tissue donation for grafts, domestic violence or sexual violence, or serious bodily injury during or resulting directly from a crime of which the person is the victim
  • for family or parental reasons.

The employer has the right to refuse this request. The employer must then pay the employee the vacation indemnity to which he is entitled.

Division of the Vacation

If an employee’s vacation lasts more than one week:

  • he may ask to have the vacation divided into two periods. The employer could, however, refuse if the enterprise closes during the annual vacation or for a longer period

With the permission of the employer, he could divide his vacation into more than two periods (for example 8 Mondays).

An employee is entitled to an uninterrupted vacation. That is why vacations of less than a week cannot be divided.

Leave without Pay

An employee who is already entitled to 2 weeks of vacation can request an additional leave of one week without pay, which would increase the total leave to 3 weeks. The employer cannot refuse him this leave. The employee cannot, however, demand to take this leave following his other 2 weeks of vacation. This additional leave cannot be divided.

If an employer dismisses an employee who took his vacation early and received his indemnity, is the employee entitled to 4% or 6% of his wages when he leaves?

Yes. The employer must pay him the 4% or 6% of the wages that he earned during the current reference year. The vacation that he had taken prior to his dismissal was that which he had accumulated in the previous year.

Can I ask to be paid for my vacation, rather than taking the time off?

No. According to the Act, the payment and the taking of the vacation go hand in hand. There is only one exception to this rule: if the enterprise shuts down for 2 weeks during the vacation, an employee entitled to 3 weeks may ask that his last week be replaced with an indemnity.

Can I ask to be paid my 4% with each pay every week?

No. The vacation pay is given at the start of the vacation or when employment is terminated, in accordance with the applicable manner of the regular payment of the employee’s wages, unless a collective agreement or decree provides another manner. Paying the 4% with each pay is an offence.  However, when it is warranted by the seasonal or otherwise intermittent activities of an employer, this indemnity can be added to the employee’s wages and be paid to the employee in the same manner.

Saskatchewan

Vacation Leave

Eligibility

Most employees are eligible for the following vacation leave entitlements:

  • Employees who have worked for more than one year and less than 10 years with the same employer receive three weeks of vacation leave.
  • Employees who complete 10 years of work with the same employer receive a minimum of four weeks of annual vacation leave.

An employee is entitled to annual vacation after the completion of each year of employment with an employer. Completing a year of employment means that the employee worked with the same employer for 52 weeks without a break in service of 26 weeks or more. A break may be due to a layoff, termination, resignation, or a similar absence. A job-protected leave such as maternity, adoption, or parental leave would not be considered a break in service, and an employee returning from a job-protected leave is still entitled to take their three- or four-week annual vacation. However, their annual vacation pay may be reduced as it is calculated on the employee’s total wage for the year.

Taking Vacation Days

An employee can take one long vacation or several short vacations. Vacation periods should be at least one week long, however, employees and employers can agree to shorter periods. Employees must provide written notice of the length of time that they are requesting for vacation. Vacation must be taken within 12 months of the vacation entitlement date.

Employees and employers should have an agreement on when the annual vacation will be taken. If an agreement cannot be made, the employer can schedule the employee’s vacation. The employer must provide the employee at least four weeks written notice before the employee’s vacation start date.

If a public holiday falls during the employee's annual vacation, the employee's vacation period can be extended by one day.

Cancelling an Employee’s Approved Vacation

If an agreement has been made on when the annual vacation will be taken and an employer cancels or reschedules an employee’s vacation, the employer must pay all non-refundable deposits, penalties, and other pre-paid expenses related to the vacation. The employee must provide receipts for these expenses (e.g., hotel room, airfare, and other expenses).

Vacation Carry-Over

Banking unused vacation days and carrying them over into the next year is not regulated by The Saskatchewan Employment Act. Employers are free to offer terms and conditions of employment that exceed the Act’s requirements including carrying over annual vacation into the next year. There are all kinds of employment arrangements that exceed minimum standards. If an employee does not take vacation leave, then the vacation pay must be paid out within 11 months of the time that the employee became entitled to take a vacation.

Calculating and Paying Annual Vacation Pay

Most employees are entitled to vacation pay, no matter what hours they work or how they are paid.

There are two options for paying out annual vacation:

  • Paying employees going on annual vacation; and
  • Paying employees not taking an annual vacation within 11 months of the vacation time entitlement.

In some circumstances, employers and employees will agree to have the vacation pay paid on each cheque – although not provided for under the Act, as long as there is a mutual agreement, an employer can pay vacation pay this way. It is important for the employer to maintain good records of the payment and ensure that it is separately identified on the employee’s pay stub. When paying vacation pay on each cheque, it must include all wages including overtime, commissions, etc. and the vacation pay earned during the pay period is used in the calculation.

Paying Employees Going on Annual Vacation

The vacation pay calculation is designed to give employees their average wage while away on annual vacation. As a result, all wages including overtime, commissions, and bonuses are used in the calculation. 

Paying Employees Not Taking Annual Vacation Within 11 Months of the Vacation Time Entitlement

When an employee does not take vacation, vacation pay is payable within 11 months of the day they became entitled to vacation. Vacation pay can be calculated the same way as above and paid on either the employee’s normal payday or at the employee’s request.

Vacation Pay Due After Termination

Employees who quit or have their employment terminated and do not receive vacation pay each pay period are entitled to payment of any vacation pay that has not been previously paid out and provided to them on their final cheque. This includes employees who have not yet become eligible to take an annual vacation (i.e., have not yet completed 52 weeks of employment with the employer).

Annual Vacation for Part-Time Employees

An employee's annual vacation entitlements are based on years of service with the employer and not on hours worked. As a result, part-time employees who have worked for more than one year and less than 10 years with the same employer receive three weeks' annual vacation leave. Employees who have worked 10 years or more at the same employer get a minimum of four weeks' annual vacation leave.

Vacation pay is based on the employee's total wage for the year. Employees are still entitled to take three or four weeks (based on years of service) of annual vacation leave, and receive vacation pay calculated on their part-time total wages for the year.

Yukon

Vacation Leave

Are all employees entitled to annual vacations?

Members of the employer's family are excluded from the vacation requirements. All other employees, whether part-time, seasonal or temporary, are entitled to an annual vacation with vacation pay after each completed year of employment.

How many weeks of vacation must the employee be granted?

The employee must be granted at least 2 weeks of vacation after completing 1 year of employment.

What is the vacation pay rate?

Vacation pay is 4% of the gross wages earned by the employee during the year in which the employee earned the vacation time.

When can the employee take an annual vacation?

The vacation must be granted within 10 months of the year the vacation was earned.

When must vacation pay be paid?

Vacation pay must be paid at least 1 day before the employee starts the vacation.

Is an employee who terminates before working a full year entitled to vacation pay?

An employee must be employed 14 continuous days before they are entitled to vacation pay. If the employee has been employed 14 continuous days they are entitled to 4% of their gross wages as vacation pay. Vacation pay must be paid to them within 7 calendar days from the termination of employment.

Must the employee take an annual vacation?

The employer and employee may agree in writing that the employee will not take an annual vacation. Although the employee is not taking a vacation the employer must pay the vacation pay which the employee has earned.

What if a general holiday occurs during the vacation?

The employee's vacation is extended by 1 day for each general holiday. The employer must pay the wages to which the employee is entitled for the general holiday.

Northwest Territories

Vacation Leave

When is an employee entitled to an annual vacation?

All employees are entitled to vacation pay on all wages earned.  After the first year of employment, an employee is entitled to a minimum of 2 weeks off work for vacation. The employer must grant the employee's vacation within the next 6 month period following the completed year in which the vacation was earned.  An employee earns a minimum of two week’s vacation for each completed year of service and after 5 completed years of employment, the entitlement increases to a minimum of 3 weeks of vacation each year. 

Reference: Section 24 of the Employment Standards Act

What amount is an employee entitled to receive as vacation pay?

All employees are entitled to receive 4% of their total gross wages as vacation pay for the first five years of employment and 2 weeks off per year after each of the first 5 years. Upon completion of the 5th year, vacation pay is earned at the rate of 6% and the employee is entitled to 3 weeks off after the 6th and subsequent years. The employer must pay vacation pay at least 24 hours prior to the beginning of the employee’s vacation.

Vacation pay is calculated on regular pay, overtime pay, commissions, bonuses (which form part of the employee’s employment agreement) recall pay, termination pay, profit sharing, shift premiums and statutory holiday pay. 

All employees are entitled to vacation pay. Vacation pay accumulates from the first hour worked.

Reference: Sections 24 and 25 of the Employment Standards Act

 

What if an employee quits or is terminated before having the opportunity to take a vacation?

Any outstanding vacation pay earned must be included in the final pay cheque. The employer has 10 days from the employee’s last day worked to pay any wages owing, or accrued.

Reference: Section 25(3) of the Employment Standards Act


Do part-time or casual employees get vacation and vacation pay?
 

Yes.  All employees earn vacation pay on their gross earnings.

 

 

Vacation Entitlement

After 1 year: 2 weeks

After 6 years: 3 weeks

Vacation Pay

4% of vacationable earnings

After 6 years of employment: 6%

 

[Employment Standards Act]

 

 

Nunavut

Vacation Leave

Every employee is entitled to an annual vacation & vacation pay.

The length of time an employee has worked for the employer determines eligibility for annual vacation.

Vacation pay is paid by the applicable percentage of 4% or 6% of gross wages. The applicable percentage is depended on the length of service with the employer.

After an employee has been employed by the same employer for one year and for the next five years, he / she is eligible for an annual vacation of two weeks. The years of employment following the first five years of employment, the employee is to receive an annual vacation of three weeks.

Vacation pay

at least one day before the beginning of the vacation or at an earlier prescribed time, pay to the employee the vacation pay to which the employee is entitled in respect of that vacation.

Vacation pay means 4% of the total gross wages of an employee from start date of work and for the first five (5) years of employment and 6% of the total gross wages of an employee for the sixth and subsequent years of work with the same employer.

Vacation pay & Termination from employment

When an employee quits his or her job or is laid off or terminated, the employee is entitled to receive, at that time, whatever vacation pay has accumulated but has not already been paid.

 All employees are entitled to be paid vacation pay, no matter how long they were employed with the employer.