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As an employer do I have to give people time off for religious leave and do I also have to pay them?

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Employers have a duty to accommodate an employee’s creed to the point of undue hardship, including by providing time off for religious holidays. An employer should offer the employee options to have the time off without losing wages or using vacation time.  These options might include special/compassionate paid leave, scheduling changes, overtime, use of lieu time, compressed work week arrangements and, if the employer operates on a statutory holiday, working on a statutory holiday (subject to the requirements of the Employment Standards Act).  If the workplace or the employee’s individual circumstances are such that the employee cannot make up the time that they must miss for religious reasons, other forms of accommodation must be explored.