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Heritage Day in Nova Scotia has come and gone – but did you get a paid holiday?

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Heritage Day is one of six – only six – paid “holidays” in Nova Scotia. We have to treasure the paltry six we get, seven including Remembrance Day, even though if we were in Saskatchewan we would be entitled to ten, in Ontario and Quebec nine. We tie with PEI for the lowest number of public holidays every year; even New Brunswick gets two more days than we do.

Heritage Day in NS is also a “retail closing day” which means that almost all stores excluding drug stores, restaurants, cafes, bars, and gas stations must remain closed.

If there is a union where you work, you will be paid for this holiday.

However if there is no union, it’s a little more tricky.

If you have the day off because your shop or restaurant or office is closed, you will get paid a regular day’s pay if you qualify. You qualify for the paid holiday if

1) you’ve been paid for at least 15 of the last 30 days,


2) you’ve worked your last scheduled shift the day before Heritage Day, and you work your first scheduled shift after the holiday.

If you do work on Heritage Day, you are entitled to a regular day’s pay plus one and a half times your regular rate of pay for the hours you worked on the holiday.

Let’s say you earn $11 per hour. If, over a month, you work for an average of 8 hours a day, you get paid $11 times 8 = $88, which would be your regular pay. Added to that $88 you also get paid time and a half for the hours you work on Heritage Day. Let’s say that you work 4 hours: $11 x 4 =$44 plus half again as much, which is $22.00. You should be paid $88 + $44 + $22 = $154.00, for working on Heritage Day.

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Judy Haiven is a retired professor of Industrial Relations at Saint Mary’s University. 

If you want to unite with others to campaign for better rights at work, write Judy at workwonks@gmail.com   

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