Holiday Pay: Is It Worth It?

K-P-32-WorkSchedule-id-1551-jpegThe Victoria Day long weekend is approaching, and as a business owner, you may be debating whether or not you should pay employees holiday pay in order to continue your business operations during this holiday.

To clarify, when I say “holiday pay,” what I mean is the regular holiday pay plus premium pay employers are required to grant employees that agree to work on a public holiday. For guidelines regarding how holiday pay is calculated, you can visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s website. In most cases, holiday pay is 2.5 times an employee’s regular salary.

When my clients are making this decision, I suggest they ask themselves this question: Does the cost of paying employees holiday pay outweigh the potential value added to your clients?

Are your clients 24/7/365? Then perhaps your business should be too. If there is a high probability that your clients will need your products/services on a holiday, you may want to consider having employees on hand. Providing availability on public holidays can greatly improve client relationships and ROIs, as it’s an uncommon and possibly lucrative practice.

Since paying employees 2.5 times their regular salary can take a big hit on any small- or medium-sized business’s bottom line, I’d like to share some alternatives to providing holiday pay in order to minimize your costs:

Have Employees Be On Call

If you don’t want to trust the “chance” that clients may need attention, you could have employees be on call rather than officially in the office. However, this won’t be without it’s own price. As a result of Bill 148, beginning on January 1, 2019, on-call employees are entitled to at least 3 hours of pay, even if they aren’t called in to work.

Schedule a Substitute Holiday

In order to avoid the cost of holiday pay or the eventual cost of having an employee on call, you could instead provide employees with substitute holidays. This would save you money, but it may leave you short-staffed on later dates. As a business owner, I know that being only one person short can have a large impact on the productivity of a regular workday.

Is paying employees holiday pay worth it? The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all formula to decide, even though the government provides a handy calculator to help you figure out the exact cost of an employee’s holiday pay depending on their wage. If you would like some business advice or would like to connect with other business owners in a peer advisory board, contact me today to find out more about TAB!


This Holiday Season, Focus on You

relax-955798_1920.jpgAs a business owner, the holiday season can be overwhelming. With client demands at an all time high, staff vacations and strategic planning in the works for the next fiscal year, stress often pervades around this time. That’s why at this time, perhaps more than any other time, it’s important to take care of yourself and take time off from your business.

I’ve outlined below my top 3 tips for taking care of yourself over the holidays.

1) Do something you enjoy

Whether it’s volunteering, reading a book or playing one of your favourite sports, dedicate some time during the holidays to doing something that you love. It’s easy to forget about the world around us when we’re so immersed in our work, but you’ll appreciate the opportunity to rid yourself of work-related stress, even if it’s just for a few hours a day.

The holiday season is also a great time to spend some much needed quality time with your close friends and family members. Business owners are often so caught up in the day-to-day stresses of running a company that they often forget to make time for their loved ones.

2) Exercise

Physical activity is a great method for reducing stress. There are plenty of winter activities that incorporate exercise, such as skating, skiing, tobogganing, or even just a walk. Fresh air every now and again is important to your health, cold weather aside. If you prefer indoor activities, visit your local gym for a workout or swim. Your eyes will thank you for the much-needed break from paperwork, smartphones and laptops.

3) Rejuvenate

Even if it’s just an extra hour of sleep each morning, do something that will make you feel revitalized. A fresh mind means that you’ll be focused on making the right business decisions come 2017, possibly from a different perspective you may have previously had. Mindfulness is a practice that you may want to consider for rejuvenation, which also happens to improve decision-making.

Dedicating some “me” time for yourself during the holidays may seem easier said than done, but the benefits are simply undeniable. If you’re anxious about the impact time off would have on your customers, informing them about office closures and/or reduced hours during the holiday season may alleviate some of the worry you have about not focusing on the business.

How do you plan on getting some R&R this holiday season?

Warning for Business Travelers – What You Really Need Before You Leave the Country


Remember the old commercials for American Express Travelers Checks with Karl Malden, who coined the phrase, “American Express Travelers Checks don’t leave home without them?” The commercial was created to raise awareness about how important it is to protect ourselves against lost or stolen documents and money when traveling.

This commercial quickly came to mind when I discovered, in a recent trip to Australia, that my passport had been stolen. What was a planned short week’s stay soon became a logistical nightmare resulting in an unplanned extension of another 9 days!

As a Canadian business traveler that frequently travels abroad, I have made it a best practice to always keep a copy of my passport on my mobile phone for backup, just in case the worst happens and my passport is stolen.

Although this backup passport was a good idea and could cut off a couple of days in waiting time, it was not enough to save me. According to the Canadian government, I needed to have not one, but THREE pieces of ID in order for them to issue me a temporary passport that I could use to fly back home.

When I met with the Canadian Consulate in Australia, they specifically told me in order to get home I needed a temporary passport, but a temporary passport can only be issued if you submit a complete application for a new passport and this required:

  1. A photocopy of my passport
  2. Proof of Canadian citizenship (birth certificate or other)
  3. Proof of residence (drivers license, etc.)

Having my proof of residence and a passport copy was certainly helpful, in moving the process along, but like most of us, I do not carry my birth certificate with me when I travel and so I needed to get access to my birth certificate. Luckily I could ask my wife back in Canada to fax me a copy of my birth certificate – but what if she was not at home or we were traveling together? I would have been stuck in Australia (not that there is anything wrong with Australia of course).

Once I had all of the documents, I then had to arrange to have Canadian-approved passport pictures taken, which is not as straightforward as it might seem. Thereafter I had to submit my application for a new passport to the Canadian Consulate along with a request for a temporary passport for approval.

The entire ordeal meant I needed to prolong my stay in Australia by more than a week, as it takes 5 to 7 business days to issue a temporary passport. As a result, I had to make arrangements for a new flight ($1100) and book extra hotel nights ($600), as well as reschedule all of my meetings planned for the week (priceless)!

As difficult as the incident was for me in Australia, I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been to try to accomplish all of this if I had been traveling in a country where the language was unfamiliar.

I share this story with all Canadian travelers, as this experience although harrowing, was a wake-up call for me. The experience was a warning to make sure you always have these 3 pieces of ID with you when traveling.

Were you aware that you needed these 3 pieces of ID to get a temporary passport? Have you ever been in a similar situation? What did you learn from it? I look forward to hearing your stories.