Legal News

Second Wedding Ceremony Justifies Special Leave

A nurse applied for five days of special leave to attend her wedding in the Philippines. Under the special leave provisions of the collective agreement, an employee is entitled to five days for “marriage leave”. The grievor had been married in a small civil ceremony three years earlier, before she started working for the employer. She claimed she was entitled to marriage leave because her marriage in the Philippines would be her “real wedding”. The employer denied her request on the basis that she was already legally married and was not entitled to paid leave for an event which had occurred before her employment began.

Arbitrator Hall found that marriage leave was intended to cover not only the ceremony itself but also celebrations surrounding the ceremony, like parties and receptions. He concluded the event in the Phillipines was the grievor’s “real” wedding since her civil ceremony could barely be described as a celebration. The grievance was allowed and the employer was directed to adjust the grievor’s special leave credits accordingly.

Although the arbitration was an expedited proceeding and the award has no precedential effect, it illustrates the considerations that an arbitrator might have in mind in similar cases in the future.

Central Care Corp. (Lakeview Care Centre) v. British Columbia Nurses’ Union [2007] B.C.C.A.A.A. No. 89 (Hall)