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Vacation Time Requirements in BC

Employment Law | January 28, 2021

Most workers are aware that BC employees are entitled to annual vacation time as part of the Employment Standards Act, but not everyone is aware of how much time they are entitled to in their position or what kind of requirements there are regarding pay for vacation time taken. At Linley Welwood, our employment lawyers can provide both employees and employers with a better understanding of any unclear information regarding vacation time requirements in BC in order to ensure that the rights of both parties are protected.

What are the Vacation Time Requirements in BC?

In British Columbia, an employer is required to give their employees an annual vacation. After 12 consecutive months of employment, all employees are required to receive 2 weeks off per year (10 days of vacation time per year), with the time increasing to 3 weeks of vacation time per year (15 days of vacation time per year) after 5 consecutive years of employment. Statutory holidays are not counted as vacation days. Vacation days are to be paid at the same rate as working days and an employee must take their vacation time within each year.

Can Vacation Days Carry Over Year to Year?

Employers are required to ensure that their employees take their vacation time within 12 months after completing the year of employment entitling the employee to the vacation. If an employee does not take vacation time, it can count as unpaid wages, so the responsibility to ensure that vacation time is taken lies with the employer. This ensures that they are protected from possible future legal complications.

Can Vacation Pay be Paid Out?

If both the employer and the employee agree to it, vacation time can be paid out on every paycheque rather than accumulated as time off. This agreement must be made in writing. If an employee quits their employment, they also must be paid out any remaining vacation time accumulated from the previous year of work.

How Long can a Vacation Be?

An employer must allow an employee who is entitled to an annual vacation to take it in periods of one or more weeks. If an employee wishes to take less than a week off and use their vacation days, this is allowed, but it must be at the employee’s request and not the employer’s bidding. If an employee wishes, they can take their vacation time throughout the year one day at a time, or they can use it all in one period.

If you would like to learn more about vacation time requirements in BC, or to find out more about the legal services that the team at Linley Welwood can offer, please reach out to us so that we can answer your questions and get you the legal assistance you require.


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