Corrections Officer Not Entitled To Bereavement Leave For Funeral On Day Of

A corrections officer in the York County, Pennsylvania prison had a normal work schedule of Monday through Friday. The officer’s father died, and the funeral was held on Saturday. When the employer denied the officer’s request for bereavement leave, the officer’s labor organization, Local 776 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, challenged the denial in arbitration. The Arbitrator rejected the grievance. Citing the language of the contract that employees were entitled to “three day off” for bereavement leave, the Arbitrator reasoned that an employee could not have a “day off” if a funeral was held on what would normally not be a workday for the employee.

The officer argued that he was entitled to the bereavement leave because the contract provided that the time off “shall include the day of the funeral.” The Arbitrator disagreed, finding that “the reference to the day of the funeral is intended to refer to the fact that, where the day of the funeral is on a normal workday, that day ‘shall’ constitute one of the three bereavement days to which the employee is entitled.”

York County Prison, Pennsylvania, LAIG 6402 (McConnell, 2006).

This article appears in the January 2007 issue