Home / Workplace Directory / Canadian Press / Overtime and averaging: are you being paid properly?

Overtime and averaging: are you being paid properly?

It has come to the Guild’s attention that an employee was told they were averaged when they should not be. In other words, they weren’t allowed to claim overtime on a daily basis and instead had to average their hours over a month before claiming overtime. The situation is being rectified.

The contract is specific about who can and cannot be averaged. Averaging applies to staff who generally manage their own working hours, which can vary from day to day or week to week, or both. Averaged staffers are expected to organize and manage their work time so that the work week averages 35 hours.

Who’s Averaged?
The following groups of editorial employees are averaged (ref Article 16.06): News Editors, Audio Supervisors, National Photographers outside Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, employees working as staff correspondents , correspondents at provincial legislatures, other than in Quebec City, and employees working as National Writers.

Staff assigned to provincial legislatures are averaged during the period when the legislatures are sitting. They are not averaged the rest of the time.

National Writers are defined as reporter-editors who normally work independently of general bureau operations. These employees specialize in a specific subject and are involved in the coverage of news subjects over an area larger than the region covered by an individual bureau. They are not regularly assigned to report day-to-day news.

Averaging is suspended for employees assigned to full-time election coverage during an election campaign or when assigned for at least one day to perform work which is not normally averaged.

If you are unsure of your status, please get in touch with a Guild representative. For the precise rules on averaging read Articles 16.06, 16.07, 16.08, 16.12 and 16.13 of the collective agreement.

Averaging is not to be used merely as a tool to reduce overtime payments, but because hours may fluctuate due to the nature of the work.

Communiqu?s issued by CP and the Guild when the averaging provision was first negotiated make it very clear that averaged employees are those who are self-assigning or
self-scheduling. Supervisors should not be ordering averaged employees to stay home from work, to report to work later than usual or to leave earlier. Fluctuations in work hours are to be based on work requirements, not on the basis of arbitrarily reducing overtime.

Averaged employees receive an overtime premium for time worked in excess of 140 hours over four weeks (35 hours multiplied by 4).

1. The easy one. You work 35 hours in the first week, 42 in the second, 28 in the third and 35 in the fourth. You’ve worked 140 hours during the four week period and receive no overtime at the end of the 4-week averaging period.
2. This happens most of the time. You work 42 hours in the first week, 35 hours in the second, 42 in the third and 35 in the fourth. You’ve worked 154 hours and receive 14 hours in overtime at the rate of time and a half. This can be taken in cash or time off in lieu at your option.
3. You work the same hours as above but during week four, there’s nothing to do on Thursday and Friday so you can take those two days off to balance your hours. Fine. If something does come up however and you have to work, file for the time. It is yours by right of contract.

It doesn’t mean you pile up hours unnecessarily. As a self-assigning employee, it is up to you to try and ensure your hours balance, taking into account the requirements of the work. If you don’t need to work seven hours one day, you don’t have to. At the same time, you are not a scheduled employee. This means no one is supposed to tell you to take any particular day off. You decide which days you want to take off, once again considering the requirements of the job. If you are being told when to report to work and when to take time off on a regular basis, we may have reason to question whether the position should be averaged at all.

Averaged employees are entitled to all the paid time off provisions of the agreement and you should include them as you bank your monthly hours. Therefore, sick time, vacation time, compensating toil (time off in lieu), and any other paid leave should be credited as time worked when you are reporting hours.

You are also entitled to:
a) Holiday pay as per Article 18 ? work on a statutory holiday. When a stat holiday falls during an averaging period, the number of hours (140) will be reduced by seven.
b) Meal allowance as per Article 26
c) Shift differential as per Article 12
d) Call back under Article 16.09
e) Travelling time under Article 16.13

If you have any questions or concerns, you should contact your local Guild representative, a member of the Branch Executive or Kathy Viner (kathy@cmg.ca) at 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

Find Member Resources

Popular Topics

Scroll to Top