Vacation scaled back for community health staffers in B.C.

Arbitrator upholds change to vacation entitlement policy
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 03/10/2014

Part-time community health workers employed at home support centres in Kelowna and Salmon Arm, B.C., filed a joint grievance represented by the British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU) and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) respectively. Of concern was that the part-time home care staff were not receiving the vacation entitlement they were owed.

The employer’s previously longstanding practice of granting vacation based on length of service was changed in 2011 in Kelowna and 2013 in Salmon Arm. Instead, the centres pro-rated the vacation time. As a result, part-time employees experienced a significant drop in the number of days received.

One example: Donna Stubbe, a part-time health worker who had been employed at the Kelowna site since 1992, received four fewer vacation days than she expected. Stubbe worked, on average, 35.5 hours per week as part of a fixed schedule. Based on the previous system of granting vacation time on the basis of continuous service, she received 25 days off in 2006, 30 days in 2008 and expected to receive 30 days in 2011.