featured Labour

Good Friday is a holiday – Will you get paid?

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Whether you work or not, you will be paid for Good Friday April 19, if you qualify. To qualify for a paid holiday on Good Friday you need to

  1.  be “entitled to receive pay” for 15 of the last 30 calendar days


  1.  have worked the last scheduled day or shift before Good Friday and the first scheduled  shift after the holiday.  

If your employer tells you not to work on the day before, or the day after Good Friday, you should still get paid.

If Good Friday falls on your day off, and you qualify – you are entitled to another day off with pay.  

So with all that in mind, if you qualify (see above), whether you work or you don’t work you are entitled to your normal day’s pay for Good Friday.  

If you do have to work that day you get your normal day’s pay plus one and a half times your regular rate of wages for the hours worked on the holiday.  

Let’s say you earn $12 an hour, and on a Friday you normally work 7 hours.  You should get $84 (gross) whether you work or not on Good Friday.

If you do work on Good Friday, let’s say it is for a shorter shift of 5 hours.  You will earn $12 x 1.5 x 5= $90 for the day. So you take your day’s pay ($84) and add the $90 to determine how much you will earn if you work on Good Friday.

Remember: this pertains to you only if there is no union where you work.  If there is a union, there is a higher likelihood the employer will not try to evade the law.  The collective agreement might also entitle you to more than the legal minimum.

However, as for those workers without a union, there is a wide range of workers who are not covered by Labour Standards, and not guaranteed a paid holiday on Good Friday.  These include: most farmworkers, real estate agents and car salespeople. People who work on fishing boats are not covered, nor are domestic workers who work in a private home for fewer than 24 hours in a week.  If you work in the petrochemical industry, or manufacturing dependent on petrochemicals you are not covered. Finally, if you are an athlete, you will not be covered if your paid work is related to athletics.

One Paid Holiday:  Two Retail Closing Days

In Nova Scotia, Good Friday is a paid holiday.  It is also a Retail Closing Day. That means all businesses, and most stores must be closed.  

Easter Sunday (April 21) is also a Retail Closing Day.  Businesses have to be closed, but workers are not entitled to holiday pay.  

There are more than 20 exceptions to the rule about closing! Many businesses can remain open on a Retail Closing Day including:

    • gas stations


    • hotels, restaurants


    • private clubs


    • cinemas, theatres


    • excursions for tourists


    • handicraft or souvenir shops


    • drug stores (limited in size)


    • fish shops


    • art galleries


  • laundromats

And if you do work on Easter Sunday, you are not entitled to holiday pay. You just get your regular rate of pay.

Easter Monday is neither a paid holiday nor a Retail Closing Day. Many unionized workers do have the day off – with pay — because their workplace is closed.  This is true for teachers, library workers, civil servants and Canada Post workers to name a handful.

See also:


Judy Haiven is a retired professor of Industrial Relations at Saint Mary’s University and co-chair of of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives- Nova Scotia

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

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