No Implied Right To Cash Out Accrued Holiday Time

Brian White was a sergeant with the Clark County, Ohio Sheriff’s Office. When White voluntarily left the Sheriff’s Office to take a job at the State of Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the County refused to pay him 144 hours of holiday/personal leave that he had accrued. White’s labor organization, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), challenged the County’s decision in arbitration.

An arbitrator sided with the County. The Arbitrator observed that the collective bargaining agreement contained no language concerning the cash out of holiday time, though it did mandate that terminating employees be cashed out for their accrued vacation and compensatory time off.

The FOP argued that it had recently negotiated out of the contract a “use it or lose it” provision with respect to holiday time, and that the implication of the ability to carry over holiday time was that the time could be cashed out on termination. The Arbitrator ruled that he could not “imply that a collective bargaining agreement grants certain rights or diminishes certain management rights unless he finds a clear mutual intent of parties to do so. There is not express language specifying the effect separation has on the unused holiday/personal hours. The FOP makes a logical argument that the right to accumulate these days should entitle the employee to be paid for the unused hours when he leaves the Department, but the County has a valid argument that any provisions subjecting the County to additional pay would logically have been discussed with the Sheriff or Commissioners. The Arbitrator must conclude that while the FOP believed an employee’s unused holiday/personal hours would be paid upon separation, the employer is not required to do so under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.”

Fraternal Order of Police and Clark County Sheriff, FMCS #08-03595 (Sellman, 2009).

This article appears in the March 2009 issue