Ontario Public Holiday Pay: New Rules Under Review

May 17, 2018

Summary

The Government of Ontario announced on May 7, 2018 that it will be reviewing the public holiday pay rules that were just put in place in November, 2017.

Pursuant to Ontario Regulation 375/18, the “pre-Bill 148” holiday pay rules will be reinstated under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 effective July 1, 2018 until December 31, 2019.

Going forward, the following rules will apply to the calculation of public holiday pay for a given public holiday:

  • Up to June 30, 2018 (includes Victoria Day):
    Public holiday pay is equal to the total amount of regular wages earned by an employee in the pay period immediately prior to the public holiday, divided by the number of days the employee worked in that period.
  • July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019:
    Public holiday pay is equal to the total amount of regular wages earned and vacation pay payable to an employee in the four (4) work weeks prior to the work week in which the public holiday occurred, divided by 20.

Impact

The Bill 148 public holiday pay rules were costly for employers, particularly those employing part-time and casual employees. The reinstatement of the pre-Bill 148 public holiday pay rules therefore represents a positive, albeit temporary, development for employers.

Action

Employers should ensure that their payroll administrators or providers are calculating public holiday pay in accordance with the new regulation. Further changes will likely come into effect for January 1, 2020. We will continue to monitor the status of the Ontario government’s review and will provide updates on this blog.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us for more information or guidance.

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