LOCAL 1085

Threat of arbitration forces Judiciary to modify leave policy

The JCAU has reached a grievance settlement with the State Judiciary that preserves employees' rights to use their current allotment of sick and vacation leave, even if it has not been earned yet.

The controversy dates back to March of 2011, when the JCAU filed a grievance complaining that the State Judiciary had adopted a new “Judiciary Leave Policy” that violated Articles 16 and 18 of the union contract by placing improper limits on the use of unearned sick and vacation leave. According to the policy, an employee who is absent for 10 working days or more at one time would not be allowed to use any sick or vacation leave for that absence unless the leave had already been earned.

Local 1085 President Rich Dann, acting on behalf of the JCAU, argued that the union contract allows Judiciary employees to use their annual sick and vacation leave any time during the year, even if it has not been earned yet. However, the Judiciary denied the grievance, claiming that Civil Service rules gave it the right to restrict the use of sick and vacation leave. The Judiciary even filed a petition with the Public Employment Relations Commission in an attempt to restrain arbitration. PERC denied the peitition, noting that Civil Service rules credit the current year's sick and vacation leave to employees at the beginning of each year.

Arbitration was scheduled for December 18, but the Judiciary agreed at the last minute to a settlement offered by the JCAU. Under the terms of the settlement, employees will be permitted to use sick and vacation leave allotted for the current year even if it has not been earned yet. However, an employee who gives notice of a resignation or unpaid leave of absence will not be permitted to use leave that he or she will be unable to earn.

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