In Quebec, during a public holiday, you are generally entitled to paid leave under certain conditions. There are also rules in place if you are working or already on leave on a holiday.
Before you read this article! The following rules apply to employees covered by the Act respecting labour standards.
If you are a unionized employee, your collective agreement may have different rules. If you are a non-unionized employee working in an establishment where public holidays are governed by the collective agreement of unionized workers, you get the same holidays as your unionized colleagues.
The rules explained in this article don’t apply to unpaid trainees, because they don’t fall under the Act respecting labour standards. They also don’t apply to certain paid trainees. That being said, if you fall under one of these categories, you may still have the right to take a day off on a public holiday. You can contact the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST or labour standards, pay equity and workplace health and safety board) to find out more.
8 public holidays per year
The legal public holidays (statutory) are:
- January 1 (New Year’s Day)
- Good Friday or Easter Monday (employer’s choice)
- The Monday before May 25 (National Patriots’ Day)
- July 1 or July 2 if July 1 is a Sunday (Canada Day)
- 1st Monday in September (Labour Day)
- 2nd Monday in October (Thanksgiving)
- December 25 (Christmas Day)
- June 24 (Quebec’s national holiday) is also a holiday. Special rules, explained at the end of this article, apply.
Remembrance Day (November 11) and National Day of Truth and Reconciliation (September 30) are not statutory holidays in Quebec. Employees protected by the Canada Labour Code, however, are entitled to these paid holidays.
An employer may also provide other paid holidays.
Statutory holidays: getting paid without working
Normally, you don’t work on a public holiday. But this is not unpaid leave! Your employer must still pay you in money.
To be entitled to the allowance, you must not have been absent without your employer’s permission or without a valid reason on the working day before or after the holiday.
Calculating how much holiday pay you will receive
Your employer must pay you 1/20th of the wages you earned in the 4 full weeks of pay before the week of the holiday. The employer must include tips, but not overtime.
For employees paid in whole or in part by commission, the amount of the allowance is 1/60th of the salary earned in the 12 weeks before the week of leave.
If you work full time, this amount is approximately equivalent to one day’s pay.
If you work part-time, the amount will usually be less than one day’s pay.
To check your pay, use this tool, provided by the CNESST.
If you work on a public holiday
Your employer may ask you to work on a public holiday. If so, they must pay you your usual wages for the hours you work. In addition, they must compensate you. Your employer has two choices:
- Either pay you the compensation in money, according to the calculations described above.
- or give you a day off at another time. Your employer must also pay you compensation in money, according to the calculations described above. Paid leave must normally be taken within three weeks before or after the holiday you worked.
The rules are the same whether you work full-time or part-time.
To qualify for holiday pay or leave, you must not have been absent without your employer’s permission or without a valid reason on the working day before or after the holiday.
If you do not work on the public holiday
You are on vacation
If you are away on vacation on a public holiday, the employer must pay you compensation or offer you paid leave. It is the employer’s choice. The holiday must be taken on a date agreed between you and your employer.
The public holiday is not part of your normal working hours
For example, you work from Tuesday to Friday and Labour Day is on a Monday. Your employer must pay you compensation or offer you paid leave. The employer decides. The leave must be taken on a date agreed between you and your employer.
You are on extended sick leave or unpaid leave, or on maternity, paternity or parental leave
You do not get compensation for the holiday.
Quebec’s National Holiday: special rules
The Quebec National Holiday applies to almost all workers, whether or not they are covered by the Act respecting labour standards.
The holiday is postponed to June 25 if the 24th falls on a Sunday (except for people who usually work on Sundays).
If you must work on June 24 and your employer offers you paid leave, it must be taken on the day you work before or after June 24 (not up to three weeks before or after as for other public holidays).
If the employer does not offer paid leave, he must pay you compensation according to the calculations described above.
Federal employees working in Quebec: You may be entitled to paid leave on June 24. This depends on your collective agreement or employment contract.