KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Could the Nova Scotia government be any stingier with regard to legislating paid holidays in our province? Probably not! We are now coming up to one of what I call the ‘unrecognised’ holidays – Natal Day.
Natal Day, celebrated the first Monday of August, is a holiday only for employees represented by trade unions, or those employed by government offices which tend to close that day. If your employer has a custom and practice of closing for Natal Day – and paying you for the holiday – Labour Standards will try to enforce it.
But for almost everyone else in the province, here’s what you need to know.
Natal Day is not a paid holiday, or what some call a statutory holiday. Natal Day is also not a retail closing day—stores and services can remain open for whatever hours they like. Employees have no right to refuse to work that day, if the employer is open and wants you to work. There is no overtime or holiday pay if you do work that day. If your employer opts to close for the day, you could get the day off with no pay.
With only six paid holidays a year, the Atlantic provinces boast the least number of paid holidays in Canada.
If you are looking for a paid holiday in August, think about organizing a union at your workplace. Ask me how.
Judy Haiven is a retired professor from the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University. She is a founder of Equity Watch, a Halifax based organization which fights discrimination and bullying in the workplace. Contact her at email@example.com. Join the Equity Watch Facebook page.
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Furthermore, Natal day ONLY applies to those in the Halifax Regional Municipality, in other words it is completely ignored for half of the province’s population