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THE QUESTION

Will an employee with two part-time jobs get paid for two days of work under new Ontario holiday pay rules?

THE ANSWER

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For a bit of background, a recent Globe and Mail story about the new calculations for public holiday pay in Ontario, as part of Bill 148, highlighted a pay boost for part-time workers and provoked a strong reaction from both employees and employers.

Under the new formula, which kicked in on Jan. 1, public holiday pay is calculated by dividing regular wages earned in the pay period before the public holiday by the number of days worked in that pay period. The calculation is based on the past two weeks. That means a full-time worker would receive a full day of pay for a public holiday, while someone working half-days would get a half-day of pay. However, if someone worked just one eight-hour day in the two weeks before the holiday, they would receive eight hours of pay – or a full day, which is the same as a full-time employee.

Under the old system – where public holiday pay was calculated by taking the amount earned in the four weeks prior to the holiday, divided by 20 days – a full-time person would get paid a full day for a statutory holiday, and a half-time person would get a half day of pay. Someone who only worked one eight-hour shift a week would receive 20 per cent of a day's pay.

So does that mean an employee with two part-time jobs gets paid for two days of work? The answer is yes, and for a breakdown of what that could look like we asked Scott Williams, vice-president of client services and small-medium business at payroll services company ADP Canada, to calculate the public holiday pay for a part-time worker with two jobs. This example shows a worker with one eight-hour shift on Saturdays at Job A and two four-hour shifts (Thursday and Friday) at Job B. The calculations were based on a wage of $15 an hour.

Under the new rules, the employee would earn $120 in regular pay each week at Job A (eight hours at $15/hour) and an additional $120 in holiday pay if a holiday falls into that pay period, even if that worker isn't scheduled that day. At Job B (two four-hour shifts on Thursday and Friday) the worker would earn another $120 per week. When a holiday falls into the pay period, the worker would get an extra $60 in holiday pay from that job.

Under the old rules, the worker would have received $24 in holiday pay at each of the two jobs, so the new rules are a sizable boost.

What if an employer doesn't pay?

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The Globe also asked the Ministry of Labour what happens if an employer refuses to pay the new rate, based on a query from a reader. She claimed her employee didn't want to pay her for the public holiday because she would also receive holiday pay from her other employer.

A ministry spokesperson said employees have the right to work in multiple jobs and that "regardless of the number of jobs an employee may have, they have the same rights under the ESA [Employment Standards Act] for each job they have."

The ministry said it has "a number of enforcement tools available to achieve compliance," such as issuing an order to pay the employee. The employer is also subject to prosecution under the Provincial Offences Act.

"When an officer issues an order to pay wages to an employer, the employer is required to comply with the order. If an employer fails to comply or does not appeal the order, the ministry undertakes collections activities through the Ministry of Finance," the spokesperson said.

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