Anyone thinking of calling in sick ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations tonight should think again. Under the law, an employer can hold back a worker’s statutory holiday pay if that day is taken off, or the day after the stat.

Employment lawyer Zaheer Lakhani said the law recognizes people may be more likely to call in sick before a statutory holiday.

"I think the government caught on to that little crafty manoeuvre and decided to have in the legislation what's known as the last and first rule,” he said.

cheque writing

(istock)

That rule says an employee must work the last scheduled day before and the first day after a stat to get their pay.

Lakhani said an employee can still get around that rule, if he or she prove to their boss they had "reasonable cause" to stay home from work.

What exactly constitutes "reasonable cause" is up for debate, Lakhani said.

"These are the words that lawyers love to hear because they are the words that make lawyers salivate, because they're not very clear.”

Reasonable cause normally includes anything unforeseen, including a family emergency, illness or bad weather, such as last week's ice storm in southern Ontario, he said.