Canada Day: HR's legal responsibilities to employees

Keep these tips in mind to make Canada Day completely stress-free

Canada Day: HR's legal responsibilities to employees

Government offices and businesses will be closed to celebrate Canada Day on Friday - but this doesn't mean employees won't be getting compensated under the national holiday.

HRD caught up Simone Ostrowski, a workplace lawyer and litigator at the Toronto-based Whitten & Lublin, to discuss what this holiday means for employees and what employers should be reminded of in terms of compensation.

According to Ostrowski, Canada Day is one of the nine public holidays that attract special employment protections under Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000.

"On Canada Day and other public holidays, most provincially-regulated employees are entitled to take the day off work and be paid public holiday pay for the day," she told HRD. "Public holiday pay is calculated by taking the regular wages earned by the employee in the four work weeks before the work week with the public holiday, as well as all of the vacation pay payable to the employee during the four work weeks before the work week with the public holiday, divided by 20.”

Ostrowski pointed out, however, that not all employees may not be entitled to these special public holiday rules.

"Certain classes of employees may be required to work on Canada Day and other public holidays, such as nurses and hospitality industry employees, and other groups of employees for whom it would not be practical to provide an entitlement to take the public holiday off work," she said.

"Workers in federally-regulated industries, such as banking and telecommunications, have separate public holiday entitlements during Canada Day set out in the Canada Labour Code."

Read more: Worker's compensation: What are your responsibilities when an employee is injured?

With these regulations in place, employers should be mindful of these special employment rules as they could entail legal repercussions if unsatisfied.

"Employers who fail to provide an employee with their public holiday entitlements in Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000 may be subject to an Employment Standards Claim by that employee and/or fines or other penalties by the Ministry of Labour," said Ostrowski.

So, to completely enjoy the holiday - and the long weekend that comes along with it - employers should best not forget their duties for employees amid the celebration!

 

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