Bedbugs not disaster requiring special leave: Board

Employee had to take time off to prepare residence for fumigation
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 04/26/2012

Preparing to have an apartment fumigated against bedbugs does not qualify as a disaster warranting special leave from work under a collective agreement, the Alberta Arbitration Board has ruled.

On July 26, 2010, an Alberta government employee was notified of the presence of bedbugs on his floor in his apartment building. His apartment was inspected and bedbugs were found. He had a fumigation scheduled for Aug. 6 and he was given a list of steps he would have to take to get his apartment and possessions ready.

The weekend before the fumigation — July 31 to Aug. 2 — was a long weekend and the employee spent about 12 hours a day over the three days preparing the apartment. He wasn’t able to finish it all, so he took three days off work — Aug. 3 to 5 — and spent more than 11 hours each day on the task, including hiring help for about four hours the day before the fumigation. He was also off work on the day of the fumigation.