Many employees deprived of pay

Remembrance Day is a holiday in most of Canada, but not in Quebec

Many workers did not receive direct deposit of their pay in their bank account on Thursday because financial institutions were closed on Wednesday for Remembrance Day, even though this day is not a statutory holiday in Quebec.

When a payday falls on a non-working holiday, such as Christmas, the salary must be paid on the previous working day, according to Quebec’s Act respecting labour standards.

Under the Canada Labour Code, Remembrance Day is a statutory holiday. This Code applies to undertakings under federal jurisdiction, particularly the chartered banks: BMO, CIBC, Royal, Scotia, TD, National Bank and Laurentian. (The Mouvement Desjardins, on the contrary, is an enterprise governed by the laws of Quebec.)

The CPA surprised

The Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) said it was very surprised. Not paying salaries as scheduled on a work day is obviously contrary to payroll professionals’ best practices.

Many companies use payroll service providers, explained Rachel De Grâce, the CPA’s Manager of Advocacy and Legislative Content.

If a week includes a statutory holiday or a bank holiday, companies specializing in payroll services must notify their clients (the employers) so that payroll processing is completed at least 24 hours before the usual date.

“The information was communicated properly by the payroll service providers, but this wasn’t necessarily obvious for Quebec employers, because Remembrance Day isn’t a statutory holiday; it doesn’t otherwise affect them or their employees,” Rachel De Grâce mentioned.

A notice sent

A spokesman for the Mouvement Desjardins, André Chapleau, gave a similar explanation: payroll service providers sent their clients a notice asking them to forward their payroll information 48 hours earlier, to account for Remembrance Day. But some companies neglected this notice.

The pays that were not deposited in the workers’ bank accounts at midnight were deposited during the day on Thursday, some financial institutions affirmed.

This delay is likely to cause problems for some workers. According to a CPA survey, 37% of Quebecers live paycheque to paycheque and have no funds in case of emergency.

Major steps

DATA PROCESSING (Tuesday)

  • Many employers use payroll service providers. The biggest payroll service providers in Canada are (in order) ADP, Ceridian Canada and Desjardins Payroll and Human Resources Services. In Quebec, Desjardins is number one.
  • The workers’ financial institutions receive all the relevant information on WEDNESDAY.

INFORMATION FROM THE EMPLOYER (Tuesday)

The employer must provide all the information to its payroll service provider before TUESDAY afternoon: list of employees who worked, their hourly rate and the number of hours worked, composition of gross pay; the payroll service provider calculates the deductions at source and other components of the net pay.

PAY DEPOSIT (Wednesday to Thursday)

The pay is deposited automatically in the employees’ bank accounts overnight.

Pay deposited on Thursdays

STATUTORY HOLIDAY

If Thursday falls on a statutory holiday, payroll processing is moved ahead at least 24 hours. In other words, the process must begin on Monday so that the workers obtain their pay on Wednesday.

PROBLEM: REMEMBRANCE DAY

On Wednesday, November 11, Remembrance Day, the federal chartered banks were closed, because this is a statutory holiday according to the Canada Labour Code, which governs the banks, in particular. However, Remembrance Day is not a statutory holiday according to the Act respecting labour standards, in Quebec. Payroll therefore should have been processed starting on Monday, November 9.