When Do Temp Workers Have to Be Paid Public Holiday Pay in Ontario?

Even though Bill-139 came into effect December 1, 2008, there is still confusion about Public Holiday Pay requirements for temp workers.

In an effort to avoid paying Public Holiday Pay wages to temps, some employers mistakenly cancel work shifts for their temp workers the day immediately before and the day immediately after a statutory holiday. This strategy used to work in the past before the new rules came into effect. But no longer.

Temp Workers Now Get Public Holiday Pay

The new rule is – anyone who has worked both their scheduled shift before and their scheduled shift after a statutory holiday is entitled to Public Holiday Pay wages, regardless of how long they may have been employed with the firm. And, those scheduled shifts do not have to be the exact days immediately before and after the holiday.

The “Last and First Rule”

The Ministry of Labour website http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pubs/guide/publicholidays.php describes the “Last and First Rule”.

The “last regularly scheduled day of work before the public holiday” and the “first regularly scheduled day of work after the public holiday” do not have to be the days right before and right after the holiday.

For example, an employee might not be scheduled to work the day right before or after the holiday. As long as the employee works all of his or her last regularly scheduled shift before the holiday and all of the first one after it, or provides reasonable cause for not working either of those days, he or she meets this qualifying criterion.

How Much Public Holiday Pay Do Temps Now Get?

The amount of Public Holiday Pay to which an employee is entitled is all of the regular wages earned by the employee in the four work weeks before the work week with the public holiday plus all of the vacation pay payable to the employee with respect to the four work weeks before the work week with the public holiday, divided by 20. For convenience , the Ministry of Labour offers a Public Holiday Pay Calculator.

Always Being Ready for a Visit by the Ministry of Labour is Crucial

Should you ever be subject to an inspection by the Ministry of Labour, you will want to make sure your payroll paperwork is accurate and up to date, as the Employment Standard officer will want to examine documents and records, including work schedules, time sheets, payroll ledgers, and wage statements. They will also want to interview randomly selected employees.

Your Temp Agency is Your Best Source for Up to Date Information

Temporary staffing agencies, given the responsibility they have for the WSIB premiums of the temporary staff they place, must always be compliant with all current regulatory requirements as part of the service they provide.

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