Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Family Day is an Albertan statutory holiday. It is celebrated on the third Monday in February each year. The holiday was first celebrated in 1990. Alberta is the only province in Canada to have a statutory holiday in February.
The holiday falls on the same day as Presidents' Day in the United States, and the timing of Family Day is not a coincidence. Alberta is generally regarded as having relatively close personal and cultural ties to the U.S. compared to other Canadian provinces. More importantly, there are close business ties, especially in the petroleum industry. A major reason for the proclamation of this holiday was because many businesspeople felt it to be impractical to be open for business that day while their American suppliers, customers and head offices were closed.
A consequence of Family Day being proclaimed was that the August holiday (Heritage Day) was downgraded to a civic holiday, meaning employers no longer have to offer holiday pay that day if they take Family Day off.
Businesses are not absolutely obligated to pay holiday pay on Family Day - the new holiday was intended to give businesses a choice. An employer can explicitly choose to not pay holiday pay on Family Day, in which case it must pay holiday pay on Heritage Day. Thus, businesses with close ties to the U.S. will generally take Family Day off and work on Heritage Day (when American businesses are open), while those businesses with closer ties to other Canadian provinces generally prefer to work on Family Day instead.
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