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Employer Can’t Force Employees to Swap “Floater Days” for Paid PEL Leave

On Jan. 1, 2018, Ontario changed its ESA laws (Bill 148) to make the first 2 days of personal emergency leave (PEL) paid. After the change took effect, 2 union employees took days off to deal with personal illnesses but didn’t get PEL pay for the days. The union grieved but management contended that the 2 days of paid PEL guaranteed by the ESA didn’t apply because the collective agreement provided a “greater entitlement,” namely 3 paid “floater days.” The Board disagreed. Floater days weren’t equivalent to PEL days even though the collective agreement allowed for swapping the former for the latter. But the swap had to be at the employee’s choice and each of the employees in this case said no to swapping PEL days for floater days. So, forcing them to swap thus violated the collective agreement and deprived them of their ESA entitlement to 2 days’ paid PEL leave [Carillion Services Inc. c Labourers’ International Union of North America, Local 183, 2018 CanLII 47110 (ON LA), May 25, 2018].

Bongarde Editorial

Bongarde Editorial

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