Know Your Rights when it comes to Vacation Pay

With summer in full swing, many of us are just itching to get out and cash in on those vacation days. When it comes to vacation pay, the rules are fairly straight forward, but that doesn’t mean every employer follows them to a T. Here are some basic things you should know about your vacation pay rights.

*Please note: below are the minimum labour standards for vacation time. Your unique collective bargaining agreement, however, may include additional benefits. Always consult your CBA to confirm your specific vacation pay rights.

What does vacation pay entail?

Vacation time refers to time that an employee can take off work while still being paid. Employees can request that vacation time be spread out over the year (for example, taking off a few days one month and a few days another month), but employers have the right to deny this request. If your employer does not approve your request for a spread out vacation, then you must use your vacation time all at once.

For employees who are paid on a monthly salary, they should receive payment at their regular rate while they are on vacation. For other employees, vacation pay will be received as a percentage of wages. 

How is my vacation time decided?

All employees can expect a minimum of two weeks vacation time with pay for the first four years at a company. After working five consecutive years at a company, the minimum time is increased to three weeks.

You and your employer must agree on when your vacation is to take place. Unfortunately, if you are unable to agree on a period of time, your employer is authorized to choose for you, but must give you two weeks written notice before doing so.

Who qualifies for vacation pay?

Just about every employee, part-time included, qualifies for vacation time and vacation pay. The keyword here, however, is employee, if you are hired as a contractor; you are not entitled to vacation pay. In addition to independent workers, here are some jobs in which vacation pay is not a requirement:

  • Licensed or registered salespersons of real estate and securities
  • Commission salespersons that solicit orders principally outside the place of business of their employer. Route salespersons are not exempt
  • Farm employees
  • Extras in a film or video production
  • Licensed insurance salespersons that are paid entirely by commission income.
  • Construction workers (not exempt from vacation pay, just not entitled to scheduled vacation time off)

You work hard, and you more than earn your rest each year. Most workers are entitled to sufficient time off without loss of income. For more information on Alberta’s laws regarding vacation time, click here.

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