What are my Vacation Rights?

With long weekends coming around some employers might decide to substitute a working day for a vacation or an unpaid day and close the office.  Can you be forced to take a vacation day and what are your rights in that case? Whitten and Lublin, Employment Lawyers answer those questions explaining your vacation entitlements under the Ontario Employment Standards Legislation.


My employer closed our office on June 30th in order to give all employees a 4 day long weekend for Canada Day.  We were given two options: take a vacation day and be paid or take a day unpaid.  Is it legal for my employer to close the office and only offer these two options?  I live in Ontario.  If this is against the legislation, how can I make an anonymous complaint?


You cannot be forced to take a single vacation day.  Ontario’s employment standards legislation allows you to insist on taking your vacation in one or two week blocks.  The rule is similar in most other Provinces.  If you did not want to use June 30th as a vacation day and you earn a fixed salary (that is not based on the number of hours that you work in a week) you are still entitled to pay for that day, even though the office closed.  You can file an anonymous or named complaint with the Ministry of Labour, who will investigate the alleged breach and can take steps to remedy any wrongdoing including an award of compensation or an order to comply with the legislation in the future.