HR Toolkit

HR Policies & Employment Legislation

Sample Policies on Common HR Topics


Statutory or public holidays are days the government (federal and/or provincial) has designated as paid days off. Much of the content of your policy will be based directly on the law.

In addition to identifying statutory holidays, most legislation also governs:

  • How holidays which fall on a regular day off are to be handled
  • The rate of pay that must be paid to those who work the holiday
  • How to calculate holiday pay for part-time employees

It is important to note that in most jurisdictions part-time employees are entitled to holiday pay whether or not the holiday falls on their usual work day. Your policy should identify the holidays that are provided by law and any other holidays that your organization gives such as Remembrance Day or Easter Monday (if these days are not legislated in your jurisdiction). In all provinces and territories statutory holidays include two holidays based in the Christian faith: Christmas and Good Friday. As Canada has become more diverse, most jurisdictions, through their human rights legislation have made employers responsible for accommodating the religious holidays of other faiths within appropriate guidelines.

For example, in Ontario, an employer has a duty to accommodate an employee who practices another faith with two days of religious holidays - the same number of Christian-based holidays as provide for in the employment standards. These days are in addition to the statutory holidays legislated by the province. If an organization gives its employees Easter Monday as a holiday, making three Christian-based holidays, then the duty to accommodate an employee of another faith would be three days. In this example, the onus is on the employee to request the religious accommodation.

The human rights legislation and the duty to accommodate religious holidays in the workplace are continuously evolving. Review the human rights legislation for your jurisdiction to ensure that your organization is complying with the current laws.


Sample policies

Holidays - Kidney Foundation of Canada (PDF - 34KB)

  • Uses clear language, short sentences, and highlights key features in bold
  • Uses words such as discourages and gives manager a bit of flexibility

Statutory Holidays - BC Organization (PDF - 28KB)

  • Uses simple, standard layout
  • States what will happen if a statutory holiday falls on a weekend