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Public Holiday Pay

Employees earn public holiday pay equal to five per cent of their wages earned in the four weeks (28 days) before the public holiday. Employees earn this pay whether or not they work on the public (statutory holiday). Public holiday pay is to be paid out in the pay period the holiday occurs in.

Calculating Public Holiday Pay

When calculating the public holiday pay, overtime, bonuses and gratuities are not included in the calculation. Commission and any vacation pay are included in the calculation. 


An employee earns regular wages of $600/week. In the four weeks before the public holiday, the employee takes one week of paid vacation of $600. The employee also earns $500 in commission. A public holiday falls within the current pay period. The calculation of public holiday pay would be as follows:

Regular wages $600 x 3 weeks  = $1,800.00
Commission = $500.00
Vacation Pay  = $600.00
Total Earnings = $2,900.00
Public Holiday Pay
Total Earnings x 0.05 ($2,900.00 x 0.05)
= $145.00

If an employee is paid vacation pay on each cheque, employers will first need to calculate the amount of vacation pay to be earned within the current pay period. The current vacation pay entitlement will then be added to the vacation pay that has been paid in the previous four weeks. Use the online Vacation Pay Calculator to help calculate vacation pay entitlements.

If a public holiday is approved to be observed on another day, the pay rules would apply to the date stated on the permit.

Special Rules for Hourly Paid Construction Employees

There are special rules for construction employees who are paid by the hour. For these employees, public holiday pay is calculated once per year at 4% of their wages. This does not include any overtime or vacation pay earned during the year. Public holiday pay is payable on December 31 of the year or within 14 days of employment termination.


An hourly paid construction employee earns regular wages of $1,200/week. They also earned $1000 in overtime hours. After five weeks of employment, the employee is laid off. There were no public holidays during this period. Even though there were no public holidays while the employee was employed, public holiday pay is still required. The calculation would be as follows:

Regular wages $1,200 x 5 weeks  = $6,000.00
Overtime  Not included
Vacation Pay Not included
Total Earnings  = $6,000.00
Public Holiday Pay
Total Earnings x 0.04 ($6,000.00 x 0.04) 
= $240.00

Because the employee was laid off after five weeks of employment, the public holiday pay must be paid out within 14 days of employment termination.

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