Recent changes to general holidays

Dec. 13, 2019

Recent Changes to General Holidays

*Visit the Alberta Government website for more information:

On September 1, 2019, changes for the eligibility for general holidays and how general holidays are paid took effect. Employers no longer have to pay all employees for all general holidays.

A library employee is now entitled to general holiday pay only if they:

  • have worked for the same employer for at least 30 workdays in the 12 months prior to the holiday (this stipulation was reinstated).
  • work their scheduled shift before and after the holiday (unless employer consent is given for the absence)
  • work on the general holiday if required and are scheduled to do so

Library employees are entitled to general holidays and receive general holiday pay if one of the following applies to them:

  • a general holiday is their regular day of work (i.e. most general holidays fall on a Monday. If the employee does not normally work on a Monday, they are not entitled to be paid for the general holiday)
  • they have actually worked on a general holiday that is not their regular day of work

Definition of holiday

General Holiday Date


New Year’s Day

January 1

January 1

Alberta Family Day

Third Monday in February

February 17

Good Friday

Friday before Easter

April 10

Victoria Day

Monday before May 25

May 18

Canada Day

July 1, except when it falls on a Sunday, then it is July 2

July 1

Labour Day

First Monday in September

September 7

Thanksgiving Day

Second Monday in October

October 12

Remembrance Day

November 11

November 11

Christmas Day

December 25

December 25

A part-time employee or on-call employee has worked five of the nine weeks preceding the holiday, it is considered to be a regular day of work and they are entitled to be paid. To calculate the rate of pay, an average of what they were paid for that day of the week they worked on, is used. This is commonly referred to as the five of nine rule which was dropped, but is now reinstated.

General Holiday Pay


Regular day of work

Not a regular day of work

Employee works

Hours worked x hourly wage x 1.5 + average daily wage


Hours worked x hourly wage + future day off at average daily wage

Hours worked x hourly wage x 1.5

Employee doesn't work

Average daily wage

Not eligible for general holiday pay


Optional General Holidays

If an employer agrees to designate additional general holidays for their employees, all employment standards rules related to general holiday pay still apply for these additional holidays.

Employers should make it very clear whether of not they will be recognizing (paying for) optional holidays

General holidays in Alberta that are entirely optional include:

Optional holiday

Definition of holiday


Easter Monday

First Monday following Easter

April 13

Heritage Day

First Monday in August

August 3

Boxing Day

December 26

December 26