The New February Holiday a Not-So Welcome Announcement for Employers

January 29, 2014

The Nova Scotia Legislature recently passed Bill No. 15, known as the February Holiday Act. The February Holiday Act creates a new public holiday in Nova Scotia on the third Monday in February, starting in 2015. For most, this means a much-needed long weekend during the lengthy period between New Year’s Day and Easter. However, for many employers, the new holiday imposes cringe-worthy additional costs and complications.

Currently there are five public holidays in Nova Scotia: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Canada Day, Labour Day and Christmas Day. On public holidays, most employees are entitled to a day off with pay. Qualifying employees that work on a public holiday are entitled to be paid the amount they normally would have received for that day, plus one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay for the hours they actually work. There are, of course, exceptions, but these are the general rules. Clearly, then, the addition of a sixth statutory holiday can mean a significant added cost for employers, whether in terms of lost productivity or increased wages.

Beyond the costs involved with the new holiday, it also poses a number of potential complications. The February Holiday Act only applies to provincially regulated employers, so federally regulated employers will not be directly affected by the change. However, the indirect effects are evident. While federally regulated employees will be at work on the third Monday in February, their children may have the day off school, and child care centres may be closed. Regardless of whether an employer operates in the provincial or federal sector, policy review and revision should be undertaken.

Further, companies operating closely to—or in competition with—companies in the other sector should consider the potential effects of their counterparts being open or closed on a day when they are not.

None of this is to say that the new holiday brings Nova Scotia out of step with other provinces. Quite the contrary: currently Nova Scotia has only five paid holidays, while the other Atlantic Provinces have six or seven. Ontario has nine.

The news of a new February holiday in Nova Scotia has come at the delight of employees, but at the dismay of employers, who will face added costs and complications.

Related Services

Employment & Labour

Related Articles

Parties, Cocktails & Cannabis – the Triple Threat for Host Liability

This is the first holiday season in the post-legalization of cannabis era. If, as an employer, you are planning a holiday gathering, you should be aware that you may be exposing your company to significant financial liability for the actions of an impaired guest. The concept of host liability is not new, but with the […]

read more

Deducting Collateral Benefits From Loss of Income Claims

On Tuesday, November 20, a panel of Cox & Palmer insurance lawyers from across the region presented our Advance 2018 Insurance Law Webinar, which covered the latest on the Common law and Legislative law approaches to deductibility related to loss of income claims. As part of the webinar materials, we prepared a paper and a handout, which we have linked below for your reference. We have also provided a link to the full webinar, which you can view and listen to at your convenience.

read more

In Callidus we “Trust” – The SCC Rules on the Deemed Trust Provisions of the Excise Tax Act and Overturns the Federal Court of Appeal Ruling in Callidus Capital Corporation v. Her Majesty the Queen

Callidus Capital Corporation v. Her Majesty the Queen, 2018 SCC 47 (SCC) Callidus was a secured creditor of Cheese Factory Road Holdings Inc. Pursuant to a trust agreement, Cheese Factory held all funds received in trust for Callidus and remitted them to be applied to its debt. The amounts paid to Callidus under this arrangement […]

read more
view all
Cox & Palmer publications are intended to provide information of a general nature only and not legal advice. The information presented is current to the date of publication and may be subject to change following the publication date.