Firefighter burns up vacation days before retiring

Employer argued firefighter didn't earn full year's vacation entitlement by retiring early in the year
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 04/26/2012

This edition of You Make the Call features a firefighter who took a full years’ allotment of vacation before retiring four months into the year.

Barry Cox was a firefighter for the City of Cornwall, Ont., for 25 years. With his length of service, Cox was entitled to six weeks of vacation per year. Early in 2010, Cox applied for and was granted all six weeks of his annual vacation entitlement, which were scheduled to be taken by April 25. On April 16, with one week to go on his vacation, Cox provided notice to the city that he planned to retire effective April 30.

The city wasn’t happy about this, as it believed vacation was earned throughout the year and if Cox retired at the end of April, he should only get a prorated portion of his annual vacation entitlement— two weeks for working four months, or one-third of the year. It cancelled his final week of vacation and sought to recover the salary Cox was paid for the three extra weeks of unearned vacation he had taken.