October 14th, 2022

In 2020, due to work-from-home health orders, the Union requested management to institute a policy to pay out excess vacation. Management originally intended that policy to end in 2021, but the Union was able to secure an agreement to pay-out excess vacation for that year. Since management is unwilling to extend that agreement for another year, the base contract applies. You can find that in “Title 9: Vacation” under your labor contract here.

In 2013, management began a practice of requiring members to take their excess vacation or face disciplinary action, rather than pay-out excess vacation time. The Union filed a grievance against management’s actions and won an arbitration (Arb. 191), which concluded that management could not require members to take vacation. Unfortunately, the arbitrator’s decision interpreted the premise in Title 9 and 9.10 (b) to mean that if management told members to take their excess vacation and provided the time for them to take vacation, and members chose not to take their excess vacation, then they may not be paid for it. This resulted in the loss of excess vacation without payment.

Since the arbitration ruling did not provide clarity on if management is unwilling to pay-out excess vacation and if management’s work expectations do not make it possible to take vacation, then members should receive payment for excess vacation. So it is possible that for operational or personal reasons, such as being on an approved leave, you may be paid your excess vacation, even if management does not agree. However, management statement’s to the Union regarding this question make it seem likely that the Union would have to prevail in another arbitration. If you believe that you have personal or operational reasons you can take your vacation, please contact your Union Representative. You can find your Union Representative under the “Find Your Representative” tab on the website. We are here to serve you.

We know that it’s been over two years since you have faced the requirement to take your excess vacation time and that newer members may not be aware of the contract’s requirements. Therefore, the Union reiterates its recommendation: take your excess vacation before the end of the year to avoid the risk of not being paid out and losing your excess vacation.

1. “The Primary intent of the Title is to provide for time away from work with pay”

2. “However, that in no event shall an employee at his option to forgo his vacation for the purpose of receiving his vacation pay allowance in addition to pay for time worked”