Click here to find info on COVID-19

Update: Overtime policy grievance for MCFD Social Workers

The BCGEU and the employer have agreed on the appointment of arbitrator Chris Sullivan. The parties have been in contact with his office regarding the scheduling of the arbitration hearing. The arbitration hearing will proceed on May 1-4, 2017.

Your union will be arguing at the hearing that the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s (MCFD) interpretation of flex time and language regarding work schedule/hours of work and overtime pay for social workers breaches the provisions of the Public Service and the Component Agreements.

Prior to November 2015, overtime was paid in many MCFD offices for emergency work duties in circumstances where a social worker was directed by the employer to perform the work after a regular 7-hour day (regardless of whether the social worker had already earned their 7 hours earned day off) as the work was considered an essential duty of the position.

In November 2015, MCFD implemented the new electronic "Time and Leave Management" system to track employees' actual hours of work. Social workers were then advised there would be a change in the past practice regarding overtime pay. On a go-forward basis, they would be paid overtime only if they work more than 9 hours in a day or more than 70 hours in a two-week period (or had already earned their 7 hours earned day off).

Component Agreement language gives social workers the right to choose their start and finish time.  When a social worker is directed to respond to a workplace issue that will extend their work day beyond 4:30pm, the union will argue that the worker should be paid overtime because they have been directed to forfeit their contractual right to choose their finish time.

At the arbitration hearing, your union will seek a declaration regarding the employer's breach, monetary remedies for affected workers, and direction from the arbitrator for future applications of the overtime policy and contractual language.

In the meantime, your union is advising social workers to file individual grievances if you are denied overtime for work you performed after a regular 7-hour day because you were directed to do so by your supervisor. The union will only be able to claim financial remedies for social workers who have filed timely grievances and in circumstances where the financial loss can be quantified.

Secondly, the union is recommending you keep current copies of your actual work records. If you work more than 70 hours in a two-week period, document your hours accurately in Time and Leave, print that record, and then the following week print the pay stub you receive for that pay period. The discrepancy between your work records and your pay cheque will be useful evidence for the arbitration hearing.

We will provide further updates as we move forward in the process and make decisions about what oral and documentary evidence we will need to present at the arbitration hearing.