(first published on 15 Feb. in NSadvocate.org here)
Nova Scotia Heritage Day is one of the six measly public holidays in Nova Scotia.
Everyone is supposed to get Monday, Feb. 18 off work—but only some of you will be paid. It is a retail closing day, which means most stores and businesses must close.
Model of Maud Lewis’ home (really a shack) in Digby County, NS. This Heritage Day commemorates the late artist. Her actual home was moved to a room in the Art Gallery of NS — you might go visit it, this weekend.
If you are a union member, or are covered by a collective agreement, your union has probably bargained the day off –with pay – for you.
If you are nota union member, you need to “qualify” to get paid for the day. To qualify, you must have worked for 15 out of the last 30 calendar days AND you have to have worked your last scheduled shift before the holiday, and your first scheduled shift after the holiday.
If you “qualify”, you get the day off with your regular day’s pay. If Monday is your normal day off, you should get another day off with pay.
However, if you do not “qualify” you still get the day off work– but without pay.
What if you have to work that day? For instance, bars, restaurants, some drug and corner stores, gas stations, and hotels are open . If you “qualify” (see above), you will get your regular day’s pay plus1.5 times your regular pay for the hours you work that day.
If you do not “qualify” then you will just earn your regular pay for the hours you work. Many small stores and coffee shops take advantage of part-time staff who do not “qualify” and make them work for straight time on the holiday!Painting of cows by Maud Lewis.
If you are a farmhand, a car salesman, sell real estate, work on a fishing boat, or work in the petrochemical industry, you are out of luck – you don’t get the holiday unless you are in a union and it has negotiated the holiday for you.