FOLLOW-UP: Personal Family Leave in GSU Local 1 (Viterra Ops/Maintenance) and Local 2 (Viterra Office) –

In the May 26 Tuesday Members’ Memo general secretary Hugh Wagner reported on discussions between Viterra and GSU about the allocation of time to GSU members who use the personal family leave provision (Article 13.9 of the collective agreements ). Specifically, if a member claiming the leave works a modified shift (e.g. 13.3 hours per shift), are they to be paid equivalent time for each day of paid personal family leave (maximum three paid days)? 

After receiving comments from Local 1 and 2 members, Wagner followed up with Viterra HR and advises that members claiming paid personal family leave, as provided in GSU’s collective agreements with the employer, will be paid for the number of hours they would have worked if not absent on leave. 

“It is important to bear in mind that this provision of the collective agreements with Viterra draws on employees’ accumulated sick leave and it covers the wages lost by the employee just as if they were absent from work on sick leave,” Wagner said. “I appreciate the input received from members on this subject. It helped clarify and resolve the discussion with management.”

Personal Family Leave in GSU Local 1 (Viterra Ops/Maintenance) and Local 2 (Viterra Office) – what are your thoughts?

By Hugh Wagner – May 27, 2020

A new addition to the current collective agreements between GSU and Viterra was personal family leave as provided in section 13.9 of Article 13 – Leaves of Absence.

The new section provides that employees are allowed to take up to five days of personal family leave and provided they have at least three months of continuous service the first three days of leave will be with pay and will be applied against the employee’s accrued sick leave credits. Section 13.9 of the collective agreement goes on to describe circumstances in which personal family leave applies as well as control measures.

This new feature of the collective agreements with Viterra was an important step forward in the struggle to balance work with family responsibilities. However, as with many new things, there are some wrinkles to sort out.

For example, an employee who works a modified work week of 13.3 hours per shift and takes three days to attend a matter covered by personal family leave. Should they be paid for 39.9 hours which are charged to their sick leave bank? Or should the employee receive 24 hours’ pay for the three days and have to make up the rest of the time from some other pool?

I think the employee should be paid as if they were at work, which would mean three days at 13.3 hours per day in this example. We’re in discussions with Viterra HR to make sure the system works fairly for union members. We’ll report on the results of our discussions once we’ve worked things out, but in the meantime we’d like Local 1 and 2 members to let us know what they think on the subject. Drop us a note by email to

Hugh Wagner is GSU’s general secretary and spokesperson for the Local 1 and 2 bargaining committees who negotiated the current collective agreements in these two locals. You can reach Hugh at or 306.536.3414.