Under Quebec’s Labour Standards Act, the second Monday of October is a statutory general (and paid) holiday. This year, Thanksgiving will be on October 12. 

Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about statutory general holidays. 

Who is entitled to the benefit of a statutory general holiday? 

  • All employees are entitled to the benefit of the paid holiday. This includes employees who are not scheduled to work that day, as well as employees who have very little seniority;
  • By way of exception however, an employee who is absent from work without the employer’s authorization or for no valid reason on the working day immediately preceding or following the statutory holiday will not be entitled to the benefit thereof. 

Can the employer ask an employee to work on a statutory general holiday? 

  • The answer is yes. In such cases the employer will have to pay the employee, in addition to the amount of salary corresponding to the hours worked, either the compensatory indemnity described below, or compensatory leave of one day during the three weeks immediately preceding or following the paid holiday. 

What is the amount of the compensatory indemnity that the employer must pay the employee? 

  • The employer must pay the employee an indemnity equal to 1/20th of the wages earned during the four complete weeks of pay preceding the week of the holiday, excluding overtime.
  • In the case of employees remunerated in whole or in part on a commission basis, the indemnity must be equal to 1/60th of the wages earned during the 12 complete weeks of pay preceding the week of the holiday.
  • In the case of employees who are on vacation on October 12, the employer must pay them the compensatory indemnity or grant them a compensatory holiday of one day on a date agreed upon between the employer and the individual employee.