KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Jim Cormier, Atlantic Director of the Retail Council of Canada, is pleased with the Nova Scotia government for naming Canada Day, this Sunday, July 1, a retail closing day. That’s good news for retailers but possibly not great news for some employees, maybe you.
All large retail stores and most other businesses have to close on Sunday, July 1, for Canada Day. Canada Day is designated ‘retail closing day.’ Mr Cormier is happy because Canada Day falls on a Sunday, which is normally a slower sales day, and a day that stores and malls are open fewer hours. So retailers can pay fewer employees for less hours of work. No wonder the Retail Council appreciates the province declaring a store closing day on a Sunday.
But for many Nova Scotia workers, Canada Day is a general and paid holiday, a statutory holiday in some provinces. If you are a union member, working under a collective agreement, you get paid for the holiday. However if you work in nearly 70% of businesses and offices in Nova Scotia which are not unionized, here are the rules. You should get paid for the day if you worked 15 of the last 30 calendar days. You also must have worked your last scheduled shift just before the holiday, and your first scheduled shift right after the holiday. If you did not work the day before, or after because you had a sick day or a vacation day, you should still get paid for Canada Day.
If your employer is a bar, gas station, restaurant or tourist operation which is open on July 1, and you work that day, you are entitled to your normal pay for the day, plus time and one half for every hour you do work on July 1.
If you normally have Sunday off, you get another day off with pay. Many businesses and offices normally closed on Sunday, will close on Monday—giving staff their paid holiday on July 2.
However if you work on a farm, in real estate, if you sell cars or work on commission, if you work on a fishing boat — you don’t get the holiday with pay.
Judy Haiven is retired professor at the Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary’s University. She is a founding member of Equity Watch.
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