One of the most stressful times in our lives can be when we experience a critical illness, injury or death in our immediate family. When members call their Representative or this office for advice, they are usually in a panic and don’t always know the process to follow and their contractual rights for time off from work.

In the case of critical illness or injury or death in the employee’s immediate family, the Employer shall grant an automatic emergency leave of absence, if so desired, not to exceed two (2) weeks. When possible, the employee shall request such leaves of absence in advance by notifying management. If this is not possible, the Employer shall be notified within 24 hours of the beginning of such leave. Any period in excess of two (2) weeks shall require the written consent of the employer. This is usually done by completing a leave of absence request form and turning it in to your company’s Human Resources department.

Funeral leave shall be provided for the purpose of arranging for and attending the funeral of the employee’s immediate family. Pay for such leave shall be at the straight time rate for the hours scheduled for each workday lost because of such absence. Paid funeral leave shall be confined to three (3) calendar days within a period of fourteen (14) days beginning with the date of the death. Verification for time required for such leave shall be supplied to the Employer by the employee if requested.

There has been a lot of confusion by members regarding proper pay for funeral leave. Many times, a member notifies the store manager that they need specific days off to attend a funeral before the schedule is posted and the days off were granted. The surprise comes when they receive their pay check the following week and the member finds that they received either partial pay or no pay for those days that they requested. This is because the employee did not miss scheduled shifts to attend the funeral.

If the work schedule was previously posted, and the employee then requests scheduled work days off to attend a funeral, then they would be contractually entitled to pay for those days missed. The key provision is that “the employee will receive pay for hours scheduled for those work days lost “.

Immediate family shall be defined as the employees spouse, registered domestic partners, child, mother, father, brother, sister, mother and father of current spouse, grandparent, grandchildren or any other relative living in the employee’s home.

If you have any questions about scheduling funeral leave, funeral pay or emergency leave of absence, you should contact your Union Representative or the Representative on duty at the union office to ensure that you get time off and pay that you are entitled to. Hopefully this information will be helpful when and if it becomes necessary to use these negotiated contractual benefits.