Call Centre Committee

Vacation Requests Report - Ad-Hoc Call Centre Committee

March 2014

On January 30th, 2014, the National President, Brother Bob Campbell assigned the Ad-hoc Call Centre Committee with the task  of investigating how vacation requests are treated in each Call Centre.

The Ad-hoc Call Centre Committee sent out the following questions to the Call Centre Contacts of CRA:

  • How much notice is required?

  • How quickly does the Employer provide a response?

  • Does Seniority have an impact?

  • Are Term members treated differently?

  • Does the Employer blackouts blocks of time for Consideration?

  • Does the process vary for highly-sought-after periods (Christmas/summer) vs the remainder of the year? If so, how?

The committee received the following responses:

How much notice is required?

Conclusion:

The amount of notice required for vacation requests varies from Call Centre to Call Centre.   The range is from 5 days’ notice to a year in advance. There is no consistency between call centres. Although the collective agreement states that the employer has the right to schedule the member’s vacation, it also states that it must be used in the year it is generated.

See Responses below:

Calgary

Management requires requests for Vacation to be submitted the first two weeks of January and also for any LIA requests

Edmonton

Members can check the calendar for availability; requests are actioned in a few days.  If the day is unavailable for vacation, it can be granted based on the situation.

Montreal

For vacation requests, five days’ notice must be given.

Hamilton

Vacation requests are addressed for the year and submitted in February or March for the next fiscal year

Saint John

Vacation requests are based on a first come first serve basis and are encouraged to be submitted a year in advance.  4 to 6 weeks is required for vacation request and a response is usually within 4 to 6 weeks, earlier depending on the circumstances.

Burnaby Fraser

Vacation requests are part of the RC508 process, but this does not mean automatic approval.  Outside RC508 Vacation requests require 3 weeks’ notice.  The Team Leader consults with Traffic and if hours are tight, consults with Manager.

Toronto North

Vacation Request are for a 6 month period of time, usually submitted 3 months in advance.  Any vacation requests submitted during the 6 months requires two weeks’ notice and subject to operational requirements.

NL IITE/E-Services Call Centre

Vacation Requests require a minimum of three weeks’ notice.  Vacation request with less than three weeks’ notice are treated on a case by case basis.  The employer sends out emails asking for any vacation requests for the upcoming quarter.

Toronto Centre

Vacation Requests are submitted to the work place Vacation Committee quarterly.  Exceptional circumstances for approval are done by the committee and responded to within five days. Requests outside the database are approved by section manager.

How quickly does the Employer provide a response?

For most Call Centres, the approval stage is at the beginning of the new cycle and for special situations, anywhere from 5 business days to 6 weeks for approval.  See responses below.

Calgary

The employer does not provide a response to the entire requests, they provide responses in quarters.  In special situations, it’s based on a case by case basis.

Edmonton

In a few days

Montreal

2 to 3 weeks

Hamilton

Approved Quarterly

Saint John

Vacation approvals take 4 to 6 Weeks or by case by case basis.

Burnaby Fraser

Vacation approvals are based RC508 which are approved at the beginning the period covered in the RC508. Any specials requests need preapproval, which can take up to a week for approval.

Toronto North

For popular dates (Highly sought after) , weeks beforehand  or at the last minute.

NL IITE/E-Services Call Centre

For Vacation requests within the normal parameters, the approval is granted ten days before the start of the new cycle once the member’s work schedule is approved.  For any unusual request for vacation, members must be persistent with the team leader in order to get approval.

Toronto Centre

Approvals are provided before the start of the quarter in question. For exceptional circumstances, 5 business days.

Does Seniority have an impact?

The majority of the call centres, Seniority has no impact on granting vacation requests. There has been attempts by some call centres to implement seniority ranking in granting vacations, but when challenged, have backed down.

Calgary

No impact on vacation requests

Edmonton

No response

Montreal

Seniority is a consideration, but it is not written down as a policy 

Hamilton

No impact on vacation requests

Saint John

No impact on vacation requests

Burnaby Fraser

No impact on vacation requests

Toronto North

No impact on vacation requests

NL IITE/E-Services Call Centre

No impact on vacation requests

Toronto Centre

No impact on vacation requests

Are Term members treated differently?

Term members are required not to take any vacation if they are offered short term extensions. The short term extensions are to cover vacation requests from other members.  Long term extensions do not have this requirement.    Otherwise there is no difference in treatment of term members. 

Calgary

Term members are not treated differently

Edmonton

No Response

Montreal

Yes Term employees are treated differently, but again not written

Hamilton

No Response

Saint John

Term employees are not treated differently.

Burnaby Fraser

Term employees are not treated differently.

Toronto North

No Response

NL IITE/E-Services Call Centre

No Response

Toronto Centre

Term employees are not treated differently.

Does the Employer blackouts blocks of time for Consideration?

During tax season, every Monday and Tuesday, the days around Easter and the last week of April is considered off limits.   Benefit release dates are also considered off limits for any vacation requests.

Calgary

During tax season, January to April very little vacation is allowed.

Edmonton

The Call Centre has blackout periods, such as during the Christmas Holidays

Montreal

The Call Centre has blackout periods.

Hamilton

The Call Centre has blackout periods

Burnaby Fraser

The Call Centre has red letter days.  Vacation time is severely restricted

Toronto North

The Call Centre has blackout periods

Toronto Centre

The call centre does not have blackout periods

NL IITE/E-Services Call Centre

 

Does the process vary for highly-sought-after periods vs the remainder of the year? If how so?

Highly-sought after periods include, Christmas/summer, peak programs times throughout the year. For example, benefit program periods, such as January, April, July, and August.
 
Calgary

The highly sought after periods, operational considerations are used.  Management tries to encourage member’s to take vacation time during slow periods, bad weather, snow days or flood days. The employer also encourages the use of vacation to cover overages in hours for the call centre.

Edmonton

The highly- sought after periods are addressed by a case by case basis.  The member must provide detailed explanation for the employer’s consideration.

Montreal

The employer reduces and or restricts the available number of vacation hours available during the highly-sought after periods 

Hamilton

There are black-out periods, but vacation requests are usually granted, and if the situation is pretty dire, a request for volunteers is made in order to resolve the shortage.

Burnaby Fraser

During the red letter periods, members must have prior approval and no new requests will be considered, unless it is a unusual situation.

Toronto North

During the black-out period, vacation requests are considered based on the first come first serve basis.  The employer opens up the request time, and members must be one of the first to request by email.  There is an inequity as not all  members  works the same shifts and therefore does not have the same opportunity to get their vacation request in first.

NL IITE/E-Services Call Centre

In the fall, the new AD at our call centre indicated that he wanted to start a vacation committee, similar to what was set-up in the office he was transferring from (Toronto Call Centre.)  Ultimately, all members on strength in the fall were invited into group brainstorming sessions about vacation.  Management wanted feedback from the staff on how we thought vacation requests should be processed.  In these brainstorming sessions, management explained the intent behind setting up a vacation committee and indicated they wanted everyone to have a voice in the decision-making process (within reason.)  They looked at the various suggestions from the staff with the goal of setting criteria to approve or deny vacation requests.  There were many suggestions, like seniority.  Their plan is to roll-out another set of meeting explaining the results of the brainstorming sessions and the criteria that will be used.  As of yet, management has just collected staff suggestions on criteria and we are still waiting to see what the results will be.

The union was offered to have a representative sit on the vacation committee.  We declined. 

As the vacation committee criteria was not rolled out by Christmas (and is still in pending status), Christmas leave was a little different. Management has recognized the importance of transparency. People want to understand why they cannot have something, as opposed to just being told no without any rationale. Management received a plethora of vacation requests for the Christmas holidays.  They sent an all staff email advising of the number of leave requests they had received for each day of the holiday season and the number of hours that could be granted in vacation leave for each day.   They asked that staff reconsider the requests they have made, and if at all possible, to trim their requests so everyone could have some time off.  And, that's what happened. Everyone got some time off.  Individuals who were travelling for the most part, were granted their leave requests. 

Other noteworthy feedback:

One member indicated that during peak times (like summer), often is there is a high-demand period, team leaders may ask members what their intentions are for their vacation plans. Often those who have "significant plans", like attending a wedding or taking a trip will have their leave requests granted, whereas someone who may just want to relax of do some home renos may not have their leave requests granted so easily. Often requests that are not "significant" may result in multiple denied requests (which, of course, make the members ecstatic.)  Again, if one "pesters" the team leader (that's the member's words, not mine), the leave request is more likely to be approved. If the member does not pester, or follow-up repeatedly with the team leader about the vacation request, the leave request may not be approved, and even denied with reasonable notice.)

Toronto Centre

No impact to the vacation requests.

 

In Solidarity,

Robert Hume
Chair Person
Ad-Hoc Call Centre