Overtime - Mandatory vs. Voluntary

Written by USW 9511 Admin on Monday May 28, 2018

Members need to be aware of their responsibilities and rights in regards to overtime.  Supervisors should not be intimidating or coercing members to work overtime.

With the summer approaching, and in light of some of the scheduling changes, it is important members know when overtime can be mandatory, and when it is only voluntary.  Some members have been staying for hours beyond their shifts, and this should only be happening if they want to.

Overtime Provisions in the Collective Agreement

When the Company determines their is extra work to be completed, they should be giving reasonable notice, and following the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in regards to who is to do that work.  All overtime should be offered to volunteers first.  The work will be given to volunteers, based on seniority, before anyone is forced into overtime.  If there are not enough volunteers to meet the demand, the company can require members to work overtime, in reverse-seniority order.  Details can be found in Article 19 of the CBA.

Mandatory vs. Voluntary Overtime

Often the term "mandatory" is thrown in with overtime.  Supervisors have often used this as a way to force members to stay indefinitely, some going so far as threatening discipline if members do not stay.  Our collective agreement does allow members to be required to stay, but only to the maximum outlined in the Employment Standards Act (ESA).

The ESA prohibits employers from requiring any employee to stay beyond working eight hours in a day (or the regular number of hours if the regular shift is more than eight hours).  For members working a regular "full day" of 7.5 hours, this means they cannot be required to work more than an additional 30 minutes.

Beyond eight hours, all overtime is voluntary.  Members can choose to stay if they would like to get the hours/pay, but they cannot be required to stay.  If your supervisor tells you otherwise, simply inform them you have worked eight hours, and you are going home.

Special Circumstances

Members are expected to regularly be available to work overtime, however, occassionally not everyone can.  If on a given day you will be unable to stay for any potential overtime, please inform your supervisor at the beginning of your shift.  This will allow them to properly plan for any extra work which may arise throughout the day.  Not being able to stay should be the exception, rather than the rule.

If you are experiencing problems with overtime, please contact your Union Steward or your Relationship Manager (Una Geraghty or Eva Georgiou).