DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME: WAKE UP, IT'S AFFECTING YOUR PAY

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DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME: WAKE UP, IT’S AFFECTING YOUR PAY

It’s time to wake up to the realities of daylight saving time. There’s a lot more to consider than simply making it in to work on time.
But first, I would like to take the time to apologize to Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and most of Arizona.
For everyone else who does entertain DST, though, the following cases are quite timely.

Time is Money

Arbitrator Wilber C. Bothwell in Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 53 LA 584, held that the employer violated the collective-bargaining agreement when it compensated employees for only seven hours of work, despite the clocks advancing one hour for daylight saving time during the employees’ eight-hour shift, where the CBA guaranteed weekend overtime workers to eight hours’ work or eight hours’ pay.

Due to daylight saving time, machinists working the Sunday midnight shift, which started at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday and ended at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, ended up actually working only seven hours instead of eight as “the clocks were advanced during the shift incident to the change from local standard time to local daylight time.” Accordingly, the employer paid employees for only seven hours of work performed.

Bothwell rejected the employer’s contention that “its intention was to balance the time out in the fall by working these employees nine hours during the shift when daylight savings changed to standard time.” He noted that those employees might not be the same employees that were scheduled for the shift at issue.

In holding for the union, Bothwell relied upon a provision in the CBA that guaranteed employees scheduled to work overtime on the weekend a minimum of eight hours’ work or eight hours’ pay. Because of this “clear and unambiguous” language, “the arbitrator has no alternative but to enforce the Agreement.” Accordingly, “[i]f the employee reports to work as scheduled [the employee] is entitled to eight hours work or eight hours pay.”

Similarly relying on the scheduling of shifts, Arbitrator Benjamin C. Roberts in General Foods Corp., 19 LA 687, held that the employer violated the CBA when it compensated employees for seven hours of actual work performed during their daylight saving time shift, where the employees reported to work for their scheduled eight-hour shift, nothing in the posting of the schedule provided them with notice that this shift differed from any other scheduled shift, and past practice dictated that any schedule changes were to be reported to union stewards, which was not done in this case.

Roberts, like Bothwell, rejected the notion that “the lost hour is regained upon the conversion” from daylight saving to standard time in the fall and that employees are then “compensated for the ninth hour and at overtime rates.” Noting that the arbitrator is not responsible for “evaluating the equities of the situation,” Roberts concluded that the CBA contained unambiguous terms guaranteeing eight hours of work or eight hours’ straight time pay for regularly scheduled employees.

Although Magma Copper, Co., 51 LA 9, did not concern a CBA that provided “certain guarantees of work or pay for employees who report for scheduled work,” Arbitrator Byron R. Abernethy held that the employer also violated the CBA when it compensated employees for actual time worked, or seven hours, during an eight-hour shift, where the contract clearly and unambiguously stated that employees working any time over one half shift shall be compensated for a full day of work.

Abernethy acknowledged that the CBA included an exception for cases in which “the release is for reason beyond the Company’s control.” Though the adoption of daylight saving time and compliance with the legislation was beyond the employer’s control, Abernethy found that because the employer did not allow employees to work an additional hour that day in order to compensate for the skipped hour, the reason for releasing the employees after seven hours was not beyond the employer’s control.

Rough Times

Arbitrator David A. Petersen disagreed with the above rulings in USS, A Division of USX Corporation Gary Works, 1997 LA Supp. 118623, finding that the employer did not violate the CBA by compensating employees for 39 hours instead of 40 during the week of daylight saving time, where there was no reduction in work or work opportunities as “it was the direct result of a governmental mandate to change the time reflected on the clocks,” and the CBA was not intended to require the employer to pay employees “for an extra hour without work being performed.”

Arbitrator Donald R. Moore also ruled in favor of the employer in Murphy Oil Corp., 63 LA 431, holding that the employer had a right to unilaterally change the work schedule of employees on a temporary basis in response to daylight saving time, where the CBA “contemplated” such a right and “the action taken was reasonable and proper due to the circumstances surrounding the decision,” as “[e]conomic and practical factors obviously had to be weighed to insure efficiency of the Company’s operations.”

Moreover, Arbitrator Munro Roberts Sr. held for the employer in Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 33 LA 752, as past practice dictated that the employer paid employees for seven hours of work instead of eight during the daylight saving time shift, and the union had accepted this arrangement for several years prior to filing the instant grievance.

Take the Time

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A review of data provided by Bloomberg BNA's Arbitration Award Navigator shows that of the 71 arbitration awards involving reduction of the workday or workweek, employers prevailed in 66.2% of cases, unions prevailed in 26.8% of cases, and 7% of cases involved mixed prevailing parties.

Accordingly, don’t snooze through the collective-bargaining agreement. Grab a cup of coffee and take your time to review it thoroughly. It might just pay off in getting you paid.

Access timely and reliable insight and information on a wide range of labor and employment issues with a free trial to the Labor & Employment Law Resource Center .