Holiday Pay and Reporting Ill
There are certain things we just know, such as Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world, or that the Great Wall is the only man-made object visible from space, or that Frankenstein was a monster. We hear them over and over. Everyone around you knows them.
However, maybe some of the things we know to be true aren’t really. Mount Everest isn’t the tallest mountain in the world. Mountains are measured from their base, so Hawaii’s Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain as measured from its base several thousand feet underwater. The Great Wall is not visible from space. Frankenstein was the fictional doctor who created the monster (Frankenstein’s monster).
We can add another...if you pick up someone’s mandatory overtime shift on Thanksgiving or Christmas you get triple time. In the past, many agents have picked up another agent’s mandatory overtime shift on Thanksgiving or Christmas, putting them on a double shift (more than eight hours) and have been paid triple time for all hours in excess of eight hours. This language comes from Article 22, paragraph C of the contract.
We recently received an arbitration decision changing that thing that everyone knows to be true. The grievance involved an agent who signed up and was awarded an AM overtime time shift on Christmas. He did not sign up for PM overtime. The company assigned another agent a mandatory overtime PM shift. The first agent offered to pick up the mandatory overtime from the second agent thereby working more than eight hours on Christmas. Although it was not documented on a shift trade form, the arbitrator said it didn’t matter and because the first agent volunteered to pick up the shift, he was not entitled to triple time pay. (The decision is posted on the TWU 555 website if you are interested in reading it.)
What does this mean to you? If you want the triple time on Thanksgiving or Christmas, sign the overtime callbook for a double. The company can’t assign mandatory overtime until they completely utilize the overtime callbook, so you’ll get a double shift before they can mandatory someone. You can still wait around to help someone out by picking up his or her mandatory overtime, but you won’t get paid at the triple time rate.
Since we are on the topic of holiday pay, if you refuse a mandatory overtime assignment on Thanksgiving or Christmas, you will not receive holiday pay for that day. Article 22, paragraph C states, “An Employee scheduled to work on a holiday who does not report for work shall lose all pay for such holiday unless the absence is due to sickness or is excused.” So if you refuse a mandatory overtime assignment, you lose the holiday pay. But if you are unlucky enough to be ill on one of those holidays and call in sick, you will still receive the holiday pay. If you are not sick, don’t call in sick, as the company could construe that as sick leave abuse, leaving you open to discipline.
Speaking of calling in sick, if you are too sick to call in, then make sure someone else calls in for you at least a half an hour before the start of your shift as allowed for in Article 23, paragraph A, sub-paragraph 1. Make sure that whoever calls in your stead follows all of the reporting requirements. Unless they are also an employee of the company, they are under no obligation to relay any messages to you, even once you are well.
And as always,
Noli sinere te ab improbis opprimi.