WE’RE WORKING ON IT: Time off – We’re fielding questions on vacation plans, changes and usage

The past year has been challenging with COVID restrictions and Mother Nature putting a damper on work. Some members saw their work location switch from office to home, others worked short-staffed when fellow members lost their jobs and many members worked under the looming fear of layoff due to a lack of work. In many cases members were taxed trying to take holidays in 2021 and, as a result, they carried hours forward into 2022.

When groups of employees have large banks of unused time, we start getting calls from members who are feeling pressured to take time off. Circumstances vary from employer insistence that time be used to appeals to help the company get through hard times and encouragement to show your loyalty by using up some time. It’s also not unusual for GSU staff reps to hear concerns from members being asked to use up time off to help reduce the likelihood of job loss resulting from a lack of work.

Your time off needs to be mutually agreed upon

All GSU collective bargaining agreements contain language that specifically references “mutual agreement” in regards to time off. When you submit your plan for time off, the company can accept or reject your proposal. The same is true on the other side. The company can approach you and ask you to take the time off and you have the right to refuse.

Whether you use your time off to go sightseeing, camping, help out with harvest or take a sunny winter vacation, you have the right to take time off at a time when it works for you. If you are having problems exercising this right or you have questions or concerns regarding your vacation time off usage or any other workplace issue, don’t hesitate to contact your GSU staff rep. We are always willing to help.

Our services are provided to you as part of your union dues and their is never an additional charge for assisting you. Contact information for GSU staff representatives is available on our web page at gsu.ca.