Employer Not Allowed To Prorate Vacation Based On Workers’ Compensation Leave

When two corrections officers for the Cayuga County, New York Sheriff’s Department went off on workers’ compensation illnesses, the County prorated their vacation accrual based upon the time the officers were off the payroll while on workers’ compensation leave. The proration produced a grievance, which was eventually referred to an arbitrator.

The Arbitrator granted the grievance, concluding that there was “no question that an employee on workers’ compensation leave is considered to be an employee of the County. Under the vacation schedule, the grievants did not break employment during the workers’ compensation leave. Absent any other disqualifying language, the grievants would be entitled to the amount of vacation leave specified in the vacation schedule.”

Important in the Arbitrator’s decision was that the vacation article in the contract did not contain language requiring employees to be in “active service” in order to accrue vacation benefits.

Cayuga County, New York Sheriff’s Department, LAIG 6230 (Lewandowski, 2004).

This article appears in the June 2005 issue