Vacation Days

Article 15 of our Collective Agreement outlines a somewhat odd manner of calculating vacation days. It seems to cause confusion every year for both faculty and management. Here is as simple an overview as I can put together:

Just the facts:

The College announced the 2016 vacation period as June 22nd – August 23rd inclusive. In that span there are 45 weekdays of which two are Stat holidays (July 1st and August 1st). Given this count, all full-time faculty have been credited with 43 vacation days for this year.

If you are booking your days at other times than the two month block scheduled by the college, you can book up to 43 weekdays, and you do not count any Stat holidays (May 23rd, Jul 1st, Aug 1st) when counting your days.

So that is fairly simple, which is why the College handles vacation that way. Technically, that is not quite how things should be done according to Article 15 of our Collective Agreement. If you are interested, follow down the rabbit hole…

Two months or 43 days? Do Stat Holidays count or not?

Article 15.01A defines two different types of vacation entitlement:

“A full-time employee shall be entitled to a vacation of two months as scheduled by the College.”

“Where the employee requests a vacation other than in a contiguous two month block, the employee shall be entitled to forty-three (43) weekdays of vacation not including any holidays as set out in Article 16.”

What this means is that if you take all your allotted vacation in one block, you get two months regardless of any Stat holidays that happen to fall in that two month block. If you take your vacation in pieces (say a few days during March break and the rest in the summer), you get 43 days, and you do not ‘count’ any Stat holidays as one of those 43.

As you might imagine, following this article to the letter would make things complicated for HR. Currently they assign the same number of days to everyone based on the ‘scheduled’ vacation period as selected by HR. If they followed the C.A. exactly, they would have to adjust the vacation days assigned to each individual based on how and when they booked their vacation.

Further complicating things is the fact that different months have different numbers of weekdays. The number of weekdays in a given two-month block will vary based on the dates selected and how they fall on the calendar in a given year.

The bottom line

The way the college is currently counting vacation days is generally fair, even if it does not follow exactly the process outlined in the Collective Agreement. Their method of calculating days will typically result in faculty being credited either 43 or 44 days in their vacation bank. As long as we are getting at least 43 days we are not being ‘cheated’ with the possible exception of a faculty member who requests an alternate two-month block that falls in such a way that they would technically get an extra day allotment. In such cases the faculty member could consult with a union steward to decide if it is worth asking HR to make an adjustment to their vacation credits.

Addendum: Can I request vacation outside the ‘designated’ days?

Every year, HR sends out an announcement for the two-month vacation block for faculty. In the past they used to call it the “recommended” vacation period and were quite open to faculty booking other blocks of time. They now call it the “designated” vacation period and are a little more reluctant to consider alternate date requests. Article 15.02 makes it clear that “requests of employees” are one factor to consider when scheduling vacation, and management has indicated in their vacation memo that alternate dates can be requested, but will have to be approved by your supervisor. If you request alternate dates and your request is denied, you should seek the advice of a union steward to explore your options.

Neal McNair
Chief Steward Associate
OPSEU Local 653

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