Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

The employment law question surrounding leap year is not whether there is an increase of women sexually harassing men, but calculation of wage costs.  Do employer’s get free labour on leap day? This was the position taken by CUPW in its leaflet “Canada Post’s Dirty Little Secret”.  The leap day pay issue arose with respect to RSMC’s (Rural Suburban Mail Carrier), a curious class of worker, in the  Canada Post system.  

“RSMCs are employees of Canada Post who are employed by Canada Post to deliver the mail in rural and suburban areas. They provide their own vehicles, hire their own helpers, and arrange for route coverage by replacement workers on days they do not work. They are paid on the basis of an annual salary, calculated based on the number of points of call, required daily kilometres, weekly average number to the door deliveries, and other factors determining the amount of time which must be spent delivering the mail.”
“In February of 2008 the Union published and mailed a flyer entitled “Canada Post’s Dirty Little Secret”, as part of a campaign to raise awareness and support for RSMCs in a dispute over unpaid work in leap years.” Because an annual salary was paid, the extra day in a leap year was not compensated.

CUPW paid for 12 bundles of flyers to be delivered to members of the public. Each bundle was to contain 100 flyers. The shop steward, Michael Danroth, who coordinated the delivery and paid for the mail, also took flyers out on his route. Management at Canada Post decided to audit his route and discovered that he had delivered 135 flyers.  This audit was conducted on the day of the mail delivery, February 29th, by two members of Canada Post management visiting 700 “points of call”. (Given the additional cost of $3.92 for 35 pieces of mail as compared to the cost of two management workers (or were they free for the day too?) plus gas for the car for the day, it was probably not a sound economic decision.) (I also find it just a little creepy that members of Canada Post management might be snooping through my mail box.)

The union argued that the delivery was unintentional since the bundles were not accurately counted at 100. Evidence showed one bundle contained only 72 flyers. The arbitrator, nevertheless, found that Danroth intentionally delivered the extra flyers and upheld the dismissal. On appeal, the British Columbia Supreme Court upheld the arbitrator’s decision.

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