Alberta General Holidays, and What to Pay Your Employees

James Miller
March 23, 2021

If you are a business owner based on Alberta, understanding Alberta general holiday dates and payroll guidelines is key factor when it comes to running a business with employees.

As an employer you need to know what counts as a general holiday, how they are treated differently in each province in Canada, which days are considered stat holidays, and how the pay is calculated. 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about statutory holidays in Alberta.


Are general holidays and statutory holidays the same thing in Alberta?

Yes, statutory holidays (or “stat holidays”) are defined in Alberta’s Employment Standards Code as “general holidays”.  Alberta of course has its own guidelines when it comes to what employees are eligible, but as for the terms general holidays and statutory holidays - in Alberta, they are technically interchangeable.

How many Alberta general  holidays are there? 

Alberta observes nine statutory holidays throughout the year where employees are eligible to be off work with statutory holiday pay or work with statutory holiday pay or time off in lie.  Read on to find out the ins and outs of the statutory holidays, how to calculate employee holiday pay and other rules you might not be aware of. 


What are the general (statutory) holidays in Alberta?

  • New Year's Day - January 1st
  • Alberta Family Day - Third Monday in February
  • Good Friday - Friday preceding Easter Sunday
  • Victoria Day - Last Monday preceding May 25th
  • Canada Day* - July 1st, except for when July 1st is a Sunday then it is moved to July 2nd (This doesn’t happen again until 2029, so you got some time)
  • Labour Day - First Monday in September
  • Thanksgiving Day - Second Monday in October
  • Remembrance Day - November 11
  • Christmas Day - December 25th

In addition to these nine holidays, Alberta has three optional stat holidays.  It is up to the employer to decide to designate these days as stat holidays.  If the employer agrees to any of these days, all employment standards rules related to stat holiday pay still apply for these additional holidays.  The additional optional days are 

  • Easter Monday - First Monday following Easter
  • Heritage Day - First Monday in August
  • Boxing Day - December 26

Boxing Day?! While we’re talking about this wonderful time of year, you may want to bookmark our Tips on Managing Staff during the Holidays.

Is Family Day a general (stat) holiday in Alberta?

Although Family Day is not a national statutory holiday, it is only observed in New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia on the third Monday of February.  In three other provinces, the third Monday of February is still a statutory holiday, called by a different name.  Manitoba celebrates Louis Riel Day, Nova Scotia Heritage Day in Nova Scotia, and Islander Day in Prince Edward Island.

Therefore the answer is yes, Family day is a Stat Holiday in Alberta, recognized on the third Monday of February.

How does an employee qualify for general (statutory) holiday pay in Alberta?

Employees are entitled to statutory holiday pay if they have worked 30 workdays for the same employer in the 12 months prior to the holiday.

Most employees are eligible to receive stat holiday and receive statutory holiday pay if: 

  • the statutory holiday is a regular workday
  • The employee works on the statutory holiday but is not a regular workday for the employee

If an employee is scheduled to work on the holiday and is absent without employer’s consent and employees must work their last regularly scheduled shift before the holiday as well as their first regularly scheduled shift after the holiday, if either of these conditions are not met then an employee is not entitled to stat holiday pay

For example: Joe works Monday to Friday, and the next stat holiday falls on a Friday. Joe is scheduled to work on the Thursday before the holiday, and the Monday after the holiday. He must work these entire shifts to be eligible for stat pay. Joe has requested Monday off to extend his weekend. His manager approves his request, therefore Joe is still eligible for stat holiday pay.

However, if Joe's request is not accepted, and he does not show up, he will only be paid premium pay for the hours he has worked on the stat holiday.

 

Do I have to pay all employees for general (stat) holidays in Alberta?

You gotta follow the rules,  most employees qualify if the stat holiday is a regular workday or the employee works the holiday that is not a regular day of work.   That means each employee that qualifies for stat holiday pay, you must pay them on time and accurately.

If the holiday falls on a regular work day and the employee does not work, they get paid at least their average daily wage.  If the employee works on the holiday which is also a regular day of work, the employee is entitled to a rate of 1.5 times their regular wage plus their average daily wage.  Or if the employee works on the holiday, they may also opt to receive their regular rate for the hours worked plus a day off in the future where they receive wages of their average daily rate for that day off.

What happens when the holiday falls on a non regular work day?  If the employee does not work, they are not eligible for stat holiday pay.  If they do work, they receive 1.5time their regular wage for hours worked but not their daily average pay.


Do part time employees get general (statutory) holiday pay in Alberta?

They sure do!  All full time and part time hourly employees are eligible to receive stat pay.  


What is the general (stat) holiday pay calculation for employees in Alberta?

Calculating stat pay for our employees is a necessary and legal part of business but calculating it accurately makes your place a great place to work.  Read our article here about other ways managing human capital helps small business owners retain and elevate great employees.

 

Public holiday pay is calculated by adding up the number of wages your employee has earned in the 4 weeks prior to the holiday from the last and divide that by 20.  This is the amount of holiday pay they would receive for that day.  

 The four weeks before the public holiday can be either: 

  • The 4 weeks immediately leading up to the stat holiday
  • The 4 weeks ending on the last day of the pay period that immediately preceded the stat holiday. 

Here's an example: Peter is paid $14/hour and works regular hours 5 days per week.  In the 4 weeks (28 days) leading up the holiday, Peter worked 20 days and made $1120.   He also worked his last scheduled shift before the holiday and will be working the first shift after. He is eligible for both regular stat pay and premium stat pay should he be scheduled for the day.

  • Regular wages earned in the last 4 weeks = $14 x 80 hours = $1120 $1120 / 20 = $56 in regular stat pay

In total, Peter will be paid $56 in regular statutory pay, even if he does not work the holiday.

 

What is the stat premium pay calculation in Alberta?

In addition to Alberta stat holiday pay, employees who work on the day of the statutory holiday, are also entitled to either:

  • premium pay. This is calculated at one and a half times the regular wage x the number of hours they worked.  Regular hourly wage x 1.5 = Premium pay.

OR

  • their regular rate for the hours worked on the public holiday, plus a substitute day off work with public holiday pay;

You, as the employer chooses which of these options will apply.

Premium Pay example:

Last pay period, Jane is paid $12/hour and works four 8 hour shifts. She also works an 8 hour shift on a stat holiday. She is eligible for both regular and premium stat pay.  As she also worked her last scheduled shift before the holiday, and will be working the first shift after, she is eligible for both regular and premium stat pay.

To calculate her total stat pay:

  • Regular wages earned in the last 4 weeks = $12 x 32 (8×4) hours = $384 + $15.36 (vacation pay, paid out per cheque)
  • $399.36 / 20 = $19.97 in regular stat pay

PLUS

  • 1.5 x ($12 x 8 hours) = $144 in premium pay
  • In total, Jane will be paid $163.97 in statutory pay

After that long read, your thoughts on calculating statutory holiday could go two ways:

  1. "Wow, I think I get it!" or
  2. "... I need to read that again."

If you haven't, that’s okay, we’re here to help.  Whether you’ve got it or not, automating payroll will save you a load of time.

For further information on automating Alberta general holiday calculations, please contact Push or download our handy ebook guide below!

Alberta general holiday


This document is provided by Push Technologies Inc. ("Push Operations") for information purposes only. This is not an official or legal document and should not be taken as legal advice. Push Operations does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check with the proper governing authority.

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