Friday, 19 July 2019
featured Labour

Let’s hope you are paid for the Labour Day holiday!

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Driving by the Sobeys store on Windsor Street in Halifax,  I noticed it was going to be open all day on Labour Day.

How can that be? I wondered.

Well it seems that despite Labour Day being a public holiday, and a retail store closing day – grocery stores are allowed to be open—if they are smaller than 4,000 square feet. Also allowed to remain open are flea markets, fish stores, Laundromats, pool halls, and even use clothing stores, according to the Retail Business Designated Day Closing Act. Of course gas bars, hotels, restaurants and bars are absolutely allowed to stay open.

But what about pay? In Nova Scotia, Labour Day is one of the six paid holidays in the year.  If your workplace is closed that day, or you do not work that day, you are entitled to a day off with pay.

To qualify for the day off with pay you need to have worked

  1. 15 of the last 30 days.


  1. Your last scheduled shift before the holiday, and your first scheduled shift after the holiday.

Of course so many employers keep staff on part time hours, that it’s sometimes hard to find out if you qualify.  

If your regular day off is Monday, then – if you qualify – you get another day off with pay, which substitutes for the Labour Day holiday.

If you qualify for the paid day off, but you have to work on Labour Day, you are entitled to your normal day’s pay, plus time and a half for the hours you work.  Some people call this double time and a half – but it is more complicated.

If you normally work 8 hours at $11/hr, you get $88.  On Labour Day, if you have to work only 5 hours, that works out to 5 x $11 =  $55, plus half again as much $27.50. So if you do work Labour Day and you qualify for the holiday pay, and you only work 5 hours – you’d earn $88 + $55 + $27.50 =  $170.50.

If a union represents you, you’ll certainly get paid for the holiday, and under your collective agreement, there will be better terms if you have to work that day.   

And if you get the day off – with or without pay – join us as Equity Watch marches in the Halifax Labour Day Parade. We start at Victoria Park at 10.30 am.  


Erratum:  Turns out all Sobey’s and Superstores in Hfx are closed on Labour Day. Even the Windsor St. store!  However whether or not you get the day off with pay depends on whether you have worked 15 of the last 30 days, and also whether you worked your last scheduled shift before the holiday and first shift after the holiday. Only if you meet those two criteria will you get paid for the day off. 

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 Join the Equity Watch Facebook page.


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