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Thanksgiving – a day off with no pay

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – In Nova Scotia, Thanksgiving is a retail closing day.  That means large supermarkets, big drug stores and many stores in malls have to be closed.

But that doesn’t mean retail staff get paid! No – it’s not a paid holiday, even though you can’t work as the store must be closed.

If there is a silver lining it’s that if your boss wants you to work on Thanksgiving – perhaps stocking shelves — and the store or business is closed, you have the right to refuse to work that day—if you tell the boss 7 days ahead of the Thanksgiving.

However if the business is allowed to be open and this includes small grocery stores, gas bars, hotels, tourism venues, newspapers, theatres, buses and trains, laundromats,  used clothing stores, and confectionery stores—you cannot refuse to work, even though your family is having a big dinner or celebration.

If you are among the nearly 30% of Nova Scotians who is unionized, you most likely get the day off with pay.  Thank your union if you get a paid holiday.


Judy Haiven is on the steering committee of Equity Watch.  See their Facebook page or contact Judy at equitywatchns@gmail.com.




  1. I just had this conversation with a guy who works for a construction company. He’s working all three days of the long weekend with no extra pay. He won’t get time and a half until he works over 55 hrs per week. If he didn’t work Monday he wouldn’t get paid. NS labour standards suck.

  2. I know someone in the lumber industry. His mill closes on Nov 11 so they can’t work but they don’t get paid. Therefore out of a salary that should be 5 days, they lose a day and are only paid 4. I think this is really breaking the law. Should they at least have the opportunity to work the day and maintain a regular full weeks salary. This I believe is the low of the low.

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