Vacation entitlement

Can employees take their vacation in days rather than in an unbroken week (such as long weekends over the summer)?
By Annie Chong
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 08/21/2008

Vacation requirements are covered under each province’s or territory’s employment or labour standards legislation, as well as the Canada Labour Code for federally regulated employees and employers.

Canada Labour Code:

It does not state how employees should take vacation.

Alberta:

The employment standards allow employees to make a written request to their employer to take vacation in periods of not less than one day. Otherwise, employees must take their vacation in one unbroken period.

British Columbia:

The employment standards allow employees to request permission to take their vacation in periods of one day or more; however, they prohibit employers from requiring an employee to take vacation in periods of less than one week.

Manitoba:

The employment standards prohibit employers from requiring an employee take less than one week of vacation at a time.

New Brunswick:

The employment standards do not specify how employees are to take their vacation.

Newfoundland and Labrador:

The labour standards state an employee entitled to two weeks of annual vacation may choose to take it in one unbroken period of two weeks or two unbroken periods of one week each, unless the employer and employee agree to shorter periods. An employee entitled to three weeks’ vacation may choose to take it in one unbroken period of three weeks, two unbroken periods of two weeks and one week respectively, or three unbroken periods of one week each, unless another agreement is reached.

Northwest Territories/Nunavut/Yukon:

Labour standards do not state how employees should take vacation.

Nova Scotia:

The labour standards allow employees to take vacation in broken periods if they have two weeks’ vacation (or three after eight years) and the employee receives at least one week of unbroken vacation.

Ontario:

The employment standards allow employees to take vacation in either one two-week period or in two periods of one week each, unless the employee requests in writing, and the employer agrees, to shorter periods. In workplaces where employers have established an alternate vacation entitlement year and employees are entitled to two or more days’ vacation during the stub period (time between the date of hire and the beginning of the first alternative vacation entitlement year, or the period between the end of the last standard vacation entitlement year and the start of the first alternative vacation entitlement year where the employer switches from a standard vacation entitlement year to an alternative vacation entitlement year), they must take the vacation in a period of consecutive days. If the vacation entitlement for the stub period is five or more days, five days of the entitlement must be taken in a period of consecutive days with the remaining vacation days taken in a separate period of consecutive days. Employees can request their vacation time be scheduled in alternate ways.

Prince Edward Island:

The employment standards state employees must take their vacation in one unbroken period.

Quebec:

The labour standards allow employees to split their two-week vacation into two or more periods if requested and the employer agrees. Employers can turn down the request if the business closes for a period at least equal to the employees’ vacation time. (Employers that, prior to March 29, 1995, shut down the business for a vacation period, may, for an employee entitled to at least three weeks’ vacation, divide the vacation into two periods, with one being the period the business is closed. The labour standards require one of those periods be at least two consecutive weeks.) The labour standards do not allow employees to take a one-week vacation in broken periods.

Saskatchewan:

The labour standards state employees must take their three-week vacation in one continuous period, unless they request shorter periods. Employees may take the vacation in periods of at least one week if they give their employer written notice no later than the day they become entitled to the vacation.

Annie Chong is manager of the payroll consulting group at Carswell, a Thomson Reuters business, which publishes the Canadian Payroll Manual and operates the Carswell Payroll Hotline.

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