Time spent at union meeting doesn’t count as working hours

4 extra hours only counted as 2 hours since worker missed shift time
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 04/02/2014

An employee who worked four hours past the end of his regular shift was only entitled to two hours of overtime when he spent two hours attending a union meeting, an arbitrator has ruled.

Raj Sharma was a dock worker for Canada Post at the Edmonton mail processing plant. He normally worked from 4 p.m. to midnight. On Feb. 13, 2007, Sharma requested time off to attend a union steward meeting, which was scheduled to run for two hours at the beginning of his shift. Canada Post granted his request, according to a collective agreement provision that allowed unpaid leave for employees who were required to “serve or work on behalf of the union.”

When the union steward meeting was finished, Sharma reported for his regular work duties at 6 p.m. During the shift, it was announced there would be overtime following the shift, lasting four hours. Sharma worked the full overtime period, finishing at 4 a.m.