Every year our office receives numerous complaints that vacation requests are denied or that the employer is forcing members to take vacations with little or no notice. The next several months are the heart of the vacation season and the last few months (October, November and December) are typically times when employers start forcing vacations. School is out in most cases in June and everyone is scrambling to schedule their vacations. Your rights under the contract are different in the Food and Drug contracts and sometime some knowledge of the contract and advance planning can save you some headaches later in the year.

The first thing that everyone should understand is that the employers can and in recent years have required our members to take all of their earned vacation for their anniversary year. Although there may be a few exceptions, for the most part all of our Union employers have that right.

Food Contract Vacation periods shall be fixed by the employer to suit the requirement of his business, but as far as possible and practicable, vacations will be given during the summer months, and for all employees of school age children, during the school vacations. Vacation periods shall be unbroken unless by mutual consent, unless it is impractical.

If the employer schedules a forced vacation, they shall give at least 2 weeks notice to the employee. Vacations may not be cumulative from one year to another.

Drug Contract The employer shall prepare and post a vacation schedule from January 15 through March 1 for the purpose of enabling employees to select their vacation period. Vacation periods shall be fixed by the employer to suit the requirements of the business, but as far as possible and practicable, vacations will be given during the summer months through October. And, for employees with school aged children, vacations shall be given during the school summer vacation.

If the employer schedules a forced vacation, they are required to give as much notice as possible prior to the date of beginning the vacation, but not less than 30 days. Vacations may not cumulate from one year to another.

In both the Food Contract and the Drug contract, if any of the named holidays under Article 8 (Food) and Article 9(Drug) fall within the vacation period of the employee, the employer shall grant an additional day of vacation with full pay, or an additional days pay in lieu of the holiday.

Remember to request your vacations early in the season to the proper manager (someone that has the authority to approve vacations) in writing, and later verify that it has been approved. If management schedules a forced vacation, without proper notice, contact your Union Rep immediately. Should you have any questions on this article please call your Union Representative or the Rep on duty at our office.