Add this to Your Vacation ‘To Do’ List

Back to Blog

July 13, 2023

Do you plan ahead when thinking about next year’s vacation schedule?

Some Members may not have to request days off super early, but some do and it is best to plan ahead as much as possible in either case.

Before you buy non-refundable tickets for a trip, make sure you have approval from your employer for the days you plan to be away. Review the language in your collective agreement to familiarize yourself with any dates and deadlines that apply to your vacation requests.

Even if you have language in your collective agreement that almost guarantees your approval based on seniority or other provisions, it is always best to get that approval in writing

In fact, put your request in writing as well and keep a copy of it; note the date and time and to whom you sent it. Having written requests and approvals can help avoid confusion and misinterpretation, or questions upon your return.

Many, if not most, collective agreements include a clause under Seniority that if you miss three shifts, you will be deemed to have lost seniority. In other words, your employer will assume you have quit or abandoned your job. Employers may use this language to terminate an employee if that employee goes on vacation without approval.

Here is an example of what could happen if you don’t get your vacation approved:

Bob is a 15-year employee who sees a fantastic all-Inclusive trip on sale. He purchases the non-refundable trip on the spot. Bob has never been told he could not take certain vacation times before, so he does not anticipate any problem in making the purchase.

Bob tells his manager verbally about the trip to which the manager replies ‘yeah, yeah, no worries. I’m sure it’s fine.’ And neither mentions it again.

When the employer posts the schedule for the week Bob planned his vacation, Bob sees he is on the schedule. Believing his manager made a mistake, Bob asks for a correction. But Bob’s manager does not remember the brief conversation and made no note of it in the schedule.

Bob is upset, but he takes the vacation anyway. When Bob comes home, he finds his employer terminated him for “no call no show.”

Never assume! A good relationship with a manager, or a history of having no issues with your vacation requests, does not mean you can take vacation whenever you want. Do your part to protect your own job and make all requests and require all approvals in writing.

If you are unsure about language in your collective agreement regarding vacations, speak to your Union Steward or contact your Union Representative. It is better to ask questions now and avoid unnecessary expenses and possibly the loss of your job.