Canada Employment and Immigration Union -
March 17, 2011

Personal productivity and the right to overtime work

The employer has been handed another defeat to its effort to restrict overtime opportunities based on productivity. In 2007, CEIU members successfully grieved a management decision to deny their entire office the right to overtime work because of alleged unacceptable productivity. However, the employer shifted its ground to say that overtime could be denied to individual staff members rather than to an office as a whole. In Alberta, members challenged this latest move and an adjudicator backed them up.

At the CIC Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta CEIU members challenged the employer’s practice of denying overtime opportunities to employees who had not met production standards. Before an adjudicator the union relied on the following clause in the PA agreement:

28.04 Assignment of Overtime Work

(a) Subject to the operational requirements, the Employer shall make every reasonable effort to avoid excessive overtime and to offer overtime work on an equitable basis among readily available qualified employees.

This clause determines the distribution of overtime and it clearly does not require staff to meet production standards. To be eligible for overtime, you must be “readily available” and “qualified” to do the work. In the adjudicator’s words “…I find that the word ‘qualified’, as used in clause 28.05 of the collective agreement, does not mean meeting a standard of production set by the employer.”

As a result of the ruling, the grievors had damages paid to them for the overtime opportunities they had lost.

The distribution of overtime cannot be based on production standards or other productivity measures. If the employer has reasonable concerns about an employee’s work performance, there are legitimate approaches that can be taken – but denying overtime opportunities is not one of them.


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