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Holiday Entitlement

Holiday Entitlement

Old Mar 18th 2021, 8:07 pm
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Default Holiday Entitlement

Hi everyone,

I lived in Canada for 3 years in my 20's on a working holiday visa and I've made it my aim to move back ever since. However, the more research I do about the realities surrounding your annual holiday entitlement I'm finding myself increasingly put off, so I'm hoping to hear some good news.

As I understand, in most provinces and territories as a working professional you'll be entitled to 2 weeks (14 days) annual holiday for the first 5 years of employment. This seems like such a surprisingly low amount even with quite a few additional nationwide and provincial public holidays to bolster it. Can you really strike a good work life balance before you hit that 5 year mark and get what seems like it should be a minimum of 3 weeks? Also, I understand that 2 weeks is the MINIMUM. Do you find that in reality most companies will offer more holiday to attract workers?

I'm interested in hearing your experiences no matter what province or territory you've lived in. I know I said I'm looking for good news, but please, if it's going to be a really tough entry into the Canadian workforce don't spare any details. Best to know what realities I'd face if I did make the move.

Cheers everyone,
Joe
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Old Mar 18th 2021, 9:18 pm
  #2  
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Default Re: Holiday Entitlement

I am in BC, this is how my vacation is.

Years
0-5 = 15 days
5 = 16
6 = 18
7 = 20
8 = 21
9 = 22
10 = 23
11 = 24
12-14 = 25
after 14 = 26
all the way up to 25+ years where it caps out at 35 days.

Last edited by Danny B; Mar 18th 2021 at 9:20 pm.
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Old Mar 18th 2021, 10:29 pm
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Default Re: Holiday Entitlement

Different industries and job levels do things differently, in my experience (and others will have different experiences) employers in my job sectors are not willing to negotiate beyond the minimum required, even if unpaid they wouldn't budge on more vacation time.

I've always been in 24/7 industries so statutory holidays are not necessarily extra days off, all depends on the industry your in and job level.

Saskatchewan starts at 3 weeks of vacation after 1 year employment, if you manage to stay with the same company for 10 years, they boost it to 4 weeks minimum.

If its a unionized job there might be differences as well.

Last edited by Jsmth321; Mar 18th 2021 at 11:41 pm.
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Old Mar 18th 2021, 11:39 pm
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Default Re: Holiday Entitlement

Interested to hear the opinions too... Like you I'm hoping there is some flex, even if it is unpaid but maybe not based on the above!
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Old Mar 18th 2021, 11:43 pm
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Default Re: Holiday Entitlement

BC has standard 2 weeks off, no time off until after the first year is completed, plus about 10 or 11 Statutory holidays (Federal and Provincial) per year.. The "odd" is Easter Monday which is considered a bank holiday, and is not celebrated in many industries in BC.

I worked at a university, in a unionised position and my holiday entitlement in addition to the Stat holidays was

2 weeks first 2 years
3 weeks for the next 3
4 weeks for the next two
5 weeks for the next 2
6 weeks after 10 years until leaving/retirement.

I could carry over a maximum of 5 days from one year to the next.

The small department I worked in could not afford to pay overtime, so they would give me time off in lieu ................... I often managed to make an extra 5 or 10 days that way as we also had to do work with the public at weekends.

BUT that is very unusual.

My husband was a faculty member at a university and only had 4 weeks official holiday right from the start. He could claim extra paid time off by appealing to his head of department or the dean of the faculty in order to go to meetings or on university business, but there was a limit to the number of those days that he was allowed.

So, yes ............ much less vacation time than you are used to. But people seem to adapt. The Stat and Provincial holidays often are Monday and or Friday, so you get long weekends.

The difficulty is if you want to go back to the UK every year ................. pretty limited time and often expensive, especially in high season.
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Old Mar 18th 2021, 11:45 pm
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Default Re: Holiday Entitlement

Originally Posted by Rhe View Post
Interested to hear the opinions too... Like you I'm hoping there is some flex, even if it is unpaid but maybe not based on the above!

It depends on what you are doing ..................... but I think in many places, no, there is not much flex. or unpaid time.

You just have to decide whether it is better for you to come to Canada, or whether the fewer holidays is a deal breaker.

Up to you!
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Old Mar 18th 2021, 11:51 pm
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Default Re: Holiday Entitlement

Just wait until you see the price of cheese!

(& insurance, internet etc)

Canadian immigrant tropes all.

I have 4 weeks vacation & have done so all bar 2 years in the 17 years & three jobs I've had here. But I'm a professional & reasonably senior in my role/organisation & your experience will vary depending upon job, level etc. Some companies are really inflexible, some unionised jobs have very firmly defined benefits (including vacation). Other companies are much more flexible - there are a couple of tech sector start ups in this part of the world that promise unlimited vacation - providing of course you get the job done and are delivering. I think the move to flexible working, driven by Covid and lockdown may actually help in terms of flexibility and vacations in the fullness of times. But it will always come back to role, seniority and type of organisation.
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Old Mar 19th 2021, 12:22 am
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Default Re: Holiday Entitlement

Originally Posted by scilly View Post
It depends on what you are doing ..................... but I think in many places, no, there is not much flex. or unpaid time.

You just have to decide whether it is better for you to come to Canada, or whether the fewer holidays is a deal breaker.

Up to you!
Personally we're definitely already applying on the worst case assumption. It's not a deal breaker but it's good to know from real life experience. I'm in a professional / management job and likely transferring internally so something I can ask my colleague in Canada on my next call about the move. But my husband might not have the same opportunity so we have to assume the worst.

I agree flex working in some industries will definitely change things. I work for an American company anyway in corporate real estate with some major global clients and already they're embracing flex working in the USA more (finally catching up with Europe!). My main client is planning to allow people, especially who work unsociable hours, to work from home full time and in some regions they want to trial making it almost mandatory to have a work from home set up. So hopefully flying back to the UK and working for a week just to say hi to family might be a possibility too. Optimistically!
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Old Mar 19th 2021, 12:58 am
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Default Re: Holiday Entitlement

Keep in mind stat holidays are not guaranteed days off, lots of people have to work them.

These are the Stat holidays in BC for those who don't know to give an idea of when they are. Straight from the government's website.


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Old Mar 19th 2021, 1:01 am
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Default Re: Holiday Entitlement

Be a bit careful about holiday entitlements. Besides the factors Atlantic Xpat mentions there's also the matter of corporate culture. At my primary client it's not usual to take vacation; The allowances are generous but no one tales them. To do so would probably be a career limiting move but it doesn't come to that, there's just no culture of vacations. It used to be that people carried the days forward and then were paid for a couple of years after retirement but that's gone now and they're lost at the end of the year. People keep the days in reserve in case of illness or family emergency, use some over Christmas, and let the bulk of them go. In such an environment I would be reluctant to be the person who asked for a continuous week off.
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Old Mar 19th 2021, 3:29 am
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Default Re: Holiday Entitlement

I don't think that we were allowed to carry over more than 5 days of holiday from year to year during most of the time that I was working at the university.

I understood that it had once been possible to carry over more for those in the union I was in (there were at least 3 more unions on campus), but that the university had got fed up with those who saved them up and then took off 1 or 2 years on full salary just before retirement. I know one of our janitors around 1970 was able to do that.as part of a "grandfathered" clause in a later contract signed after he had begun work some time in the late 40s or early 50s..

We were able to save up our sick leave., which was, I think, 5 days a year. Some people ensured they took their sick days each year, making sure that they only did it one or two days at a time.

I hardly ever took mine, so I was able to take off almost 2 months after my first mastectomy, then return to work for only 2 days a week instead of my usual 3 from October to December.

I could also have taken any remaining sick days before i retired, but I didn't because I actually forgot!

The union I was in was mainly tradesmen in the Plant Operations ............ for some reason Research Assistants and Technicians, were all included with them. I never figured that out, because it was a very bad fit!

It was hard for people in positions like I was ............ most of the time my salary was funded by grants, and there was a finite amount of money available. Every time the union negotiated a wage increase, I would lose hours of work to keep my salary within the amount available for paying salary + benefits + deductions.

I began working 4 days a week, by the time I retired I had been working for 2½ days per week for several years., which I spread over 3 short days in the office/lab. I was just happy to have a job I enjoyed, even though it paid less than I would have liked

it seems that the tradesmen's unions in BC are strongly union ............. steelworkers in ship or bridge building or electricians/plumbers etc in places like the university, etc ......... and negotiate hard.

I don't know about other provinces.
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Old Mar 19th 2021, 3:59 pm
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Default Re: Holiday Entitlement

Originally Posted by Joe0062 View Post
Hi everyone,

I lived in Canada for 3 years in my 20's on a working holiday visa and I've made it my aim to move back ever since. However, the more research I do about the realities surrounding your annual holiday entitlement I'm finding myself increasingly put off, so I'm hoping to hear some good news.

As I understand, in most provinces and territories as a working professional you'll be entitled to 2 weeks (14 days) annual holiday for the first 5 years of employment. This seems like such a surprisingly low amount even with quite a few additional nationwide and provincial public holidays to bolster it. Can you really strike a good work life balance before you hit that 5 year mark and get what seems like it should be a minimum of 3 weeks? Also, I understand that 2 weeks is the MINIMUM. Do you find that in reality most companies will offer more holiday to attract workers?

I'm interested in hearing your experiences no matter what province or territory you've lived in. I know I said I'm looking for good news, but please, if it's going to be a really tough entry into the Canadian workforce don't spare any details. Best to know what realities I'd face if I did make the move.

Cheers everyone,
Joe
Hi Joe,

I would say it entirely depends on your industry and your skill level/demand for your job. When I came here the company i work for offered 2 weeks + 3 'personal days' plus all stat holidays. However being used to more leave in the UK I negotiated when receiving my job offer and I got 3 weeks plus the rest. Since joining the company they have also increased their personal days from 3 to 5. So really i get 4 weeks, plus 10 stat holidays, way more than bank holidays in the UK, so really its almost as good as when I was in the UK. Plus at my company it is enforced to take your holiday, its a really good culture where they recognise the need for downtime so people actually get TOLD to take time off towards the end of the year if they havent used all their holiday!
Added to which the reason for my move and where I chose to live I can do all the things that I used to need holiday for, after work and at the weekends. Ski holidays? Not necessary when the ski hill is a 30min drive. Beach holidays or hiking holidays? Nah, 5 mins from the front door. So quality of life is loads better even if i had half as much holiday i wouldnt mind at all. So choose location wisely and negotiate firmly, know yourself and be confident in your abilities and you might get a good deal. Personally I wouldnt work for an employer that didnt encourage downtime as one day we're all gonna die and then what was the point of all that work and no play?

Last edited by Phaedru5; Mar 19th 2021 at 4:02 pm.
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Old Mar 19th 2021, 4:28 pm
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Default Re: Holiday Entitlement

Originally Posted by Phaedru5 View Post
what was the point of all that work and no play?
Cars. Horses. Children. Ex-wives.
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Old Mar 19th 2021, 9:20 pm
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Default Re: Holiday Entitlement

Originally Posted by dbd33 View Post
Cars. Horses. Children. Ex-wives.
It was the hirses, really, wasn't it?
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Old Mar 19th 2021, 10:00 pm
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Default Re: Holiday Entitlement

When my wife started work as a retail worker in NB, she was not entitled to Vacation until after her first year and then only two weeks.

She moved jobs from one employer to another just after her first year and started again, she did not get a vacation for her first two years.

I think it all depends on your trade and province.

Good luck
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