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All Component 20 members - Know your rights – are you claiming for all overtime owed? - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

You are receiving this email as a BCGEU Component 20 member (Environmental, Technical and Operational) working for the B.C. government.

What is overtime?  Overtime is a way for employers to manage peaks in work demand using existing employees. Employees are paid at premium rates (usually starting at 150% of the employee’s base wage, but at 200% in other circumstances).  Claiming all overtime (OT) worked upholds our collective rights as workers and ensures our employer recruits and retains appropriate staffing levels which mitigates morale problems caused by overworking existing employees.  It can be claimed as cash and/or compensatory time off (CTO) at the discretion of the employee.  It is recorded in 30 minute increment periods meaning that 5 minutes of OT is to be paid the same as 30 minutes.

Know your rights – are you claiming for all overtime worked?

There are a few provisions with respect to overtime (OT) in our collective agreements that may not be well known to you, your fellow BCGEU members or our managers, including:

  • Overtime if subject to recall during a meal period
  • Minimum three hours of overtime for call outs

Most* OT provisions are covered by Article 16 of the Main Agreement and by Article 8 of the Environmental, Technical & Operational (ETO) Component Agreement. However, there are other articles that also speak to when and how OT is to be paid. Read this email for further information and direction about claiming overtime.

How is overtime paid?
As you know, overtime is paid for work done outside of regularly scheduled hours*. There are two types of overtime that can be worked:

  • OT in conjunction with a regular shift; or
  • OT “callout” when worked on scheduled days of rest or on scheduled work days, but separate from a regular shift. 

There is no such thing as “scheduled OT,” as regular work schedules cannot include OT.

All staff have an OT “threshold” after which OT is to be paid. Depending on the schedule worked, the threshold would range between 7 and 10 hours. 

OT is paid out in cash or as Compensatory Time Off (CTO) at the choice of the employee.

The following are longstanding provisions of our collective agreements, and no other agreements can be made by individuals and their supervisors.

What about overtime when subject to recall during a meal period?
All schedules** are required to include a 30 to 60-minute unpaid meal period. One of the lesser-known provisions in the Component Agreement – Article 7.7(b) – requires that these unpaid meal periods be paid as OT if the member works or is subject to recall during the meal period. 

Note: You do not have to be recalled during a meal period to be paid for a meal break. This was recently confirmed with a successful grievance by fellow BCGEU members working as wildfire fighters.

What about overtime for callouts?
A “callout” (16.11 of the Main Agreement) occurs when an employee is called at home and takes action as a result. You do not have to report to another location, and a minimum of 3 hours of OT is payable (preapproval is not required). This provision was affirmed by the outcome of another recent grievance by where the employee was on paid standby and contacted by a third party.  Of course, an employee may be called out by any authorized person when not on paid standby, but there is no obligation to respond.

Members must claim for all provisions. These rights under the collective agreement were negotiated for the benefit of members.  Individuals cannot choose to make other arrangements with their supervisor.  If you have any questions, please reach out to your local steward or your local area office.

Our union expects members to claim for all OT worked. If you have any questions, please reach out to your local steward or your local area office.

In solidarity,

Rob Davis
BCGEU Vice President, Environmental, Technical & Operational Component (20)

* Some specific groups of employees may utilize “averaging” provisions in MOU #6 or Article 7.5 of the 18th ETO Component Agreement. This bulletin only covers ETO members who work a standard schedule from the Hours of Work Table in 7.2 of the Component Agreement.  Please speak with your Shop Steward if you are unsure about your schedule.

** Commercial Transport Inspectors working at “Inspection Stations” can schedule a paid lunch period if they are required to eat their meals at their place of work.