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Annual Vacation

How much annual vacation time am I entitled to?

Upon working one year you are entitled to two weeks vacation each year. The vacation is to be taken in one unbroken period, or two unbroken periods of one week each, as determined by the employer.  The employee may make a written request for vacation time in shorter periods.  This must be approved by the employer.

What's a "stub period"? 

The employer may establish an alternative vacation entitlement year that begins on a date other than the date of hire, known as a stub period.  An employee is entitled to a pro-rated amount of vacation time for the stub period that precedes the alternative vacation entitlement year.  Example: January 1st to December 31st is the vacation period set by the employer.  The  employee is hired on September 1st.  The stub period will be September 1st to December 31st.

How much vacation pay am I entitled to?

You are entitled to vacation pay equivalent to 4% of annual earnings.

When am I entitled to my vacation time?

You are entitled to take your vacation time after 12 months of employment. The vacation time must be granted no later than 10 months after the period in which the vacation time is earned.

The Director of Employment Standards must approve any agreement between the employer and employee respecting payment in lieu of vacation time.

When should I receive my vacation pay?

You should receive your vacation pay on the regular payday during your vacation, or at a time designated by the Director of Employment Standards.  Vacation pay must be paid to an employee in a lump sum sometime before he or she takes the vacation time earned. There are four exceptions:

  • When the vacation time is being taken in periods of less than one week. The employee must be paid vacation pay on or before the payday for the period in which the vacation is taken.
  • When the employee has agreed in writing that his or her vacation pay will be paid on each pay cheque as it accumulates. The employee's wage statement must show clearly the amount of the vacation pay being paid. This amount must also be shown separately from any other amounts paid.
  • If the employee agrees in writing, the employer can pay the vacation pay at any time agreed to by the employee.
  • If the employer pays the employee his or her wages by direct deposit into an account at a financial institution. In this case, the employee must be paid vacation pay on or before the payday for the period in which the vacation falls.

Can I request to be paid vacation instead of taking time off? 

An employee can give up some or all of his or her earned vacation time with the employer's written agreement and the approval of the Director of Employment Standards. You must still be paid vacation pay in lieu of time off. 

What wages does vacation pay calculations use?

  • regular earnings, including commissions
  • bonuses and gifts that are non-discretionary or are related to hours of work
  • overtime pay
  • public holiday pay
  • termination pay
  • allowances for room and board

These calculations do not include:

  • vacation pay paid out or earned but not yet paid
  • tips and gratuities
  • discretionary bonuses and gifts that are not related to hours of work, production or efficiency (e.g. a Christmas bonus unrelated to performance)
  • expenses, traveling and living allowances
  • contributions made by an employer to a benefit plan and payments from a benefit plan (e.g. sick pay)
  • federal employment insurance benefits
  • severance pay

What if my vacation falls on a public holiday?

The day would remain a vacation day for the employee, and if the employee qualifies for the public holiday, the employee is entitled to one of the following:

  • The employee can have a substitute day off work with public holiday pay. This must be taken within three months of the public holiday or within 12 months of the public holiday if the employee agrees in writing or
  • the employer can pay public holiday pay for that day without giving the employee a substitute day off work if the employee agrees in writing.

Employees may also agree in writing to work on a public holiday that falls while they are on vacation.

How does a leave of absence affect vacation pay?

Because there is no break in the employment relationship during a leave of absence, an employee is entitled to 2 weeks vacation pay per year.

For more information, please visit the Ontario Vacation Factsheet.

How do I make a complaint about my work situation?

Learn more about making a complaint in your jurisdiction

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