There are 10 statutory (or “stat”) holidays in British Columbia each year. A stat holiday is essentially a paid day off. But some workers have to work stat holidays. Others may not be eligible to get paid when they get the day off. Learn about your rights relating to getting paid and working on statutory holidays.
The main legislation in BC that protects workers may not apply to you
The main law in BC protecting workers sets out rules for working on statutory holidays. Some types of workers aren’t covered by this law. The law doesn’t apply to people who are:
- in licensed professions, such as doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers, and realtors
- in industries regulated by the federal government (for example, banks and airlines)
- in certain government incentive programs while receiving income assistance, disability benefits, or Employment Insurance
- secondary-school students working at their school or in work-study programs
- primary- or secondary-school students working 15 hours or less a week as newspaper carriers
There are 10 statutory holidays per year in BC
The 10 statutory holidays in BC are:
- New Year's Day
- Family Day
- Good Friday
- Victoria Day
- Canada Day
- British Columbia Day
- Labour Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Remembrance Day
- Christmas Day
See the provincial government’s information on statutory holidays for a list of BC statutory holiday dates for the next few years.
The following are not statutory holidays in BC:
- Easter Sunday
- Easter Monday
- Boxing Day
You may have the right to substitute a statutory holiday and take another paid day off instead. See below.
You may be entitled to statutory holiday pay
“This past Thanksgiving, my employer gave me the day off but didn’t pay me for it. I was told only full-time employees get paid for stat holidays — I was working part-time. Then I found out part-timers who work at least 15 days in the month before the holiday are entitled to stat holiday pay. I told my employer. They agreed to pay me for Thanksgiving.”
– Omar, Vancouver
Under the law in BC, on a statutory holiday, eligible workers are entitled to either:
- the day off with pay (referred to as "statutory holiday pay"), or
- extra pay for working on the holiday.
To be eligible for statutory holiday pay
To be eligible for statutory holiday pay, a worker must:
- have been employed for at least 30 calendar days before the statutory holiday, and
- have worked or earned wages for 15 of the 30 days before the statutory holiday.
Workers who have worked under an averaging agreement at any time in the 30 days before the holiday don’t have to meet the 15-day requirement.
How to calculate statutory holiday pay
An eligible worker who is given the day off on a statutory holiday is entitled to an average day’s pay. If the holiday falls on a regular day off, the worker is still entitled to be paid.
An average day’s pay is calculated by dividing total wages earned in the 30 days before the statutory holiday by the number of days worked. Total wages includes wages, commissions, statutory holiday pay and vacation pay. It doesn’t include overtime pay.
For example, say you earned $2,000 in the 30 days before Canada Day. During that period, you worked 20 days. Your average day’s pay is:
$2,000 divided by 20 days = $100
You would get the day off work on Canada Day and be paid $100.
In addition to statutory holidays, you may also be entitled to a paid annual vacation. See our guidance on taking a vacation.
If you’re required to work on a statutory holiday
Under the law in BC, an eligible worker who works on a statutory holiday is entitled to be paid extra. (See the section above for what makes a worker eligible.) The worker is entitled to:
- an average day’s pay (see the section above), in addition to their regular wages for that day
- one and a half times their regular wage for any time worked beyond eight hours (up to 12 hours)
- double their regular wage for any time worked over 12 hours
You can substitute another day for a statutory holiday
“In my faith we celebrate Eid Al-Fitr, at the end of Ramadan. My employer had me scheduled to work that day. I asked if I could have the day off and swap it out for an official stat holiday like Easter or Christmas. He said no problem — and actually apologized for not thinking of that option!
– Omar, Vancouver
The law in BC gives you the right to substitute another day off for a statutory holiday if your employer agrees. Your employer can make the substitution for a group of workers, as long as the majority of them agree.
Once the substitution is made, all the rules that normally apply to statutory holidays apply to the substituted day.
Step 1. Discuss the situation with your employer
If you’re eligible for statutory holiday pay, but you haven’t been paid, first bring up the issue with your employer. Explain that you understand your right to statutory holiday pay. If you have proof you’re eligible (for example, a pay stub for the 30-day period before the holiday) share it with them.
Step 2. Start a claim with the Employment Standards Branch
If you can’t solve the problem directly with your employer, you can bring your complaint to the provincial government. The Employment Standards Branch is the office responsible for administering the legislation that protects workers in the province. For the steps to take to file a claim, see our guidance on what to do if your employer hasn’t paid you, under the “Deal with the problem” section.
What if a statutory holiday falls on my day off?
If you’re eligible for statutory holiday pay, and a holiday falls on a day when you aren’t scheduled to work, you’re still entitled to an average day’s pay. See the “Understand your legal rights" section above.
What do I earn if I work a statutory holiday but I’m not eligible for statutory holiday pay?
A worker who isn’t eligible for statutory holiday pay isn’t entitled to an average day’s pay. You’d be paid as if it were a regular work day.
The Employment Standards Branch deals with complaints if you haven't received the stat holiday pay you're entitled to.
Employment and Social Development Canada can help you bring a claim against your employer if you work in a federally regulated industry.