Holiday Pay

The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide only general information on legal issues within the province of Alberta. This service is provided by Calgary Legal Guidance funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation. The purpose is to make you aware of your legal rights and responsibilities. This is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.

This topic discusses Holiday Pay.

Employment Standards Code

The basic rights and responsibilities of most employers and employees in Alberta are outlined in the Employment Standards Code also known as the “Code”. The Code is a set of provincial laws that establishes, among other things, the amount employees are paid on holidays. The following days are general holidays in Alberta:

  • New Year’s Day;
  • Alberta Family Day;
  • Good Friday;
  • Victoria Day;
  • Canada Day;
  • Labour Day;
  • Thanksgiving Day;
  • Remembrance Day; and
  • Christmas Day.

Eligibility for Holiday Pay

Most employees, full-time and part-time, are entitled to paid general holidays immediately after starting their employment. To be eligible for general holiday pay, employees must work their scheduled shift before and after the holiday (unless employer consent is given for the absence) and work on the general holiday if required and scheduled to do so.

You are not entitled to general holiday pay if you were asked to work that day and refused to do so. Also, you are not entitled to general holiday pay if you are absent, without consent of your employer, on either your last regular working day preceding or first regular working day following the holiday. Some professions and occupations are exempted from the rules regarding general holidays and general holiday pay. Special general holiday pay rules apply to construction workers and employees paid by commission or other incentive pay plans.

Employees who work a general holiday are entitled to either:

  • Pay of 1.5 times what they would normally earn for the hours worked in addition to an amount that is their average daily wage, or
  • Their standard wage rate for hours worked plus a day off at a future date and an amount that is their average daily wage for that day off.

If you are an employee who is entitled to holiday pay and you do not work on the holiday, you must be paid at least your average daily wage for the holiday. Your average wage is calculated at 5% of your wages, general holiday pay and vacation pay earned in the four weeks immediately preceding the general holiday.

For more information, call Employment Standards using the province-wide toll-free number 1-877-427-3731 or visit the Government of Alberta website at

Dial‑A‑Law is a Calgary Legal Guidance public service project funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation.