Will you get paid for Remembrance Day?

This Thursday, Remembrance Day, I’ll head to my local Tim Horton’s just before 11 a.m.

I want to find out if anything had changed since my article several years ago here .  At that time, I found out that at least one Tim’s location didn’t give the workers the requisite 3 minutes off at 10.59 in the morning to commemorate Remembrance Day.

The three minutes off is part of the punitive Remembrance Day Act in NS.  The Act also demands that every retail shop, supermarket, and service, for the day*.  However, businesses which are closed do not have to pay their workers a cent of pay (or “premium pay”such as time and a half) for the holiday.  Unless the business or service is unionized, then the collective agreement might give the workers a day off with pay.

As for Tim’s, and other restaurants that are allowed to remain open, staff must work at regular pay but are allowed off another day off with pay.

However, before you get too excited, know that to get another day off with pay, the employee has to have worked for pay for 15 of the last 30 days.  So employers open on Remembrance Day make sure to schedule staff for that day who have worked fewer than 15 days in the last month.  Read my article here

This Remembrance Day, when I visit my local Tim’s, perhaps the manager will tape signs to the glass doors to say there will be no service for several minutes starting at 10.59 am. 

Then the manager may corral the handful of workers to stand behind the tills, hands clasped neatly in front of them.  Last year, for three minutes, the manager blared a  tinny version of the Last Post from an iphone.

Remembrance Day at Tim Horton’s in Kandahar, Afghanistan (2010). The Tim’s was open from 2006-2011. Wendy Haward, who took this photo, worked at Tim’s in Kandahar in 2010. She lost her son James in a roadside bombing in 2008. Photo credit: Canadian War Museum, Ottawa.

True, no one had to serve a customer; true the employees stopped pouring hot drinks, squirting cream and grabbing donuts for three minutes.  However, I must have been dreaming if I thought management would allow even a second during that three minutes for a staff member to sit down and gulp a coffee.  The staff weren’t even allowed to stand and drink one.

*Drug stores (not in supermarkets) are allowed to remain open, as are convenience stores.  Bars can open from 12 noon.

Please note: Remembrance Day is an imperialist’s holiday. Sorry to say, I won’t wear a red poppy because it stands for war, and celebration of war. I’ll wear a white poppy. Of course tens of thousands of Canadians died in service to this country and to “empire” and that is tragic — but we have to learn from it. See this blog by Yves Engler.

Featured Image above: A Battery Shelled (1919) by Percy Wyndham Lewis. Lewis, a British artist, was born on a yacht near Amherst, NS in 1882. He lived for 3 years in Toronto, in poverty, during WWII, and returned to the UK after the war. This painting is in London’s Imperial War Museum (IWM).

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