Annual Vacation

Employees earn vacation time during the first year they're employed. After 12 months, they get two weeks of annual vacation. After five years, they get three weeks of annual vacation.

Taking a leave under the Act or the sale of a business does not affect an employee's length of employment.


Employees must take time off for annual vacation and receive vacation pay


Vacation must be taken within 12 months of being earned. Employees cannot skip taking vacation time and just receive vacation pay.

Annual vacation is scheduled in periods of one week or more unless the employee asks for a shorter amount of time. Employers can schedule vacation time according to business needs as long as employees are able to take their vacation days within twelve months of earning them.

If a statutory holiday falls on an employee's scheduled vacation day, the employee may qualify for statutory holiday pay. They do not get an additional day off.

Employees can ask to take vacation days before earning them. If an employer allows this, it does not affect an employee’s vacation entitlement later on, unless the employer clearly explains that at the time. The employer must require the employee to submit their request in writing. If the employer allows them to take the vacation days in advance, the employer can deduct the number of vacation days they took in advance from their vacation entitlement once they have actually earned it.


Example: Max starts work in March 2017. He emails his supervisor to ask for three days off in April 2017 to go to his brother's wedding. His request is approved and Max takes the time off. Starting in March 2018, he can take the rest of his vacation time – the two weeks earned during 2017 minus three days. He must use his vacation time before March 2019.


Vacation pay is at least four percent of all wages paid in the previous year.


After the employee completes five years of employment, the employer must pay vacation pay of at least six percent of all wages earned in the previous year.

Vacation pay must be paid at least seven days before an employee starts their annual vacation time. If the employee and employer agree in writing, it can be paid out on every pay cheque instead. Any vacation pay received by an employee becomes part of the total wages paid in that year.

Commission sales people take annual vacation and receive vacation pay the same as other employees. Vacation pay is paid on all commissions earned – it is not incorporated into the commission rate. Commissions paid during an employee’s annual vacation are not vacation pay.


Example: Robyn completes her first year of work at a new job on February 28, 2009 and has earned two weeks of vacation. She takes her two weeks off in July 2009. Before she goes on vacation, her employer pays her vacation pay – four percent of her gross earnings from March 1, 2008 to February 28, 2009. This pay is included in her gross wages for 2009. Robyn does not receive any regular wages for the two weeks that she is on vacation.


When employment ends, employees must be paid all remaining vacation pay


All vacation pay that is owed to an employee must be paid on their last pay cheque. If an employee works for less than a year, they need to be paid four percent annual vacation pay. Employees who are employed for five calendar days or less are not entitled to be paid annual vacation pay.


Agreements to give more vacation days or vacation pay can be enforced.


Employers must uphold any agreements they make even if they are greater than the minimum requirements for annual vacation pay or time off.

Farm workers who get paid a piece rate have vacation pay included in their piece rates.


Explore solutions


Answer a series of questions that lead you to solutions for work problems.


Ask for help


Get advice and information to help you deal with workplace issues.


Make a complaint


Submit a formal complaint about an issue or dispute at work.

​​