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Your vacation entitlement and the “ZML Closure memo”: what does it mean?

By now you will have received and read the all-staff memo about the impending closure of the S-VOX/ZML deal. Although it’s detailed, the memo is a little less “user friendly” than it needs to be. We’ll try to translate the important parts into English.

Essentially, you stop being an S-VOX employee and become a ZML employee overnight. All the terms and conditions of your employment stay as they are. From a practical standpoint, the only thing that changes is the signature on your paycheque. You lose none of the benefits, nor the value of the benefits that you currently enjoy, and your seniority continues without any break.

Because of the date of the handover (ZML is taking over the operations three working days before the end of the month), your end-of-June paycheque may be a little smaller than usual. On the other hand, the July 15 cheque should be a little bit larger, so overall things should balance out.

Vacations: here’s where things may get a bit confusing. S-VOX is trying to tie up all its financial loose ends, and new employer ZML wants to start from zero. So, S-VOX will pay out all of the vacation time you currently have in your bank, including everything you’ve earned in the first half of 2010. Then you’ll start accumulating vacation time at the same rate you did previously.

So what happens if you want to take time off between now and the end of 2010? First off, request the time just as you always have. Requests will be treated the same way they always have, and are subject to the rules as set out in the collective agreement. If you request more days off than you have accumulated with ZML, you have the option of either borrowing against your next year’s entitlement or taking the time as pre-paid leave.

Let’s look at a simple example. An employee (let’s call him Bob) currently has 12 days of leave built up with S-VOX. Those 12 days will be paid out as of the end of June. If Bob wants to take two weeks (10 days) of holidays in October, he has two options: (1) take paid vacation time (a few days based on the three or four months worked since the handover, plus a few days borrowed against next year’s entitlement) and keep the 12 days worth of cash that’s already been paid out, or (2) take the time as pre-paid leave. Choosing option (2) would mean that no salary would be paid for the ten days of holiday time, but Bob would already have the money in his/her pocket. The advantage to that approach is that Bob doesn’t end up owing ZML any vacation time; the disadvantage is that Bob would have to hang on to the money paid out in June and not spend it until vacation time comes around.

Note that the value of the vacation benefit remains the same, although how you use that value may be a little awkward, at least for this year.

We know that this isn’t the simplest arrangement to understand, but it should work out all right for most employees. If you believe that this change is going to cause significant problems or hardship for you, please speak to a member of your Guild executive or contact the Guild office at keith@cmg.ca or info@cmg.ca and we’ll help any way we can.

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