CanadaOne Twitter CanadaOne Linkedin CanadaOne Facebook CanadaONe RSS

Ask an Expert

Losing vacation pay

Expert: Howard Levitt

Anita asked:

Our company, which is located in British Columbia, was recently bought out by a US company in December 2006. At that time I had been employed by the company for 17 years and was receiving 7 weeks vacation (I am on salary). Previous to the sale every salaried employee signed a contract every year saying what our vacation days were for that year and how many we had to look forward to in the future according to years of service.

This US company wants to cut back our vacation time to the minimum required by BC Labour Standards which is 2 weeks for hourly employees and 3 weeks for salaried employees. That means a number of long term employees are going to be losing seven weeks vacation. We never signed a contract with the new company at the time of purchase indicating what the proposed changes in benefits, vacation, job descriptions etc. would entail nor were we offered one. Do we have any rights in keeping our vacation allotment in this case?

Howard Levitt answered:

A significant decrease in remuneration is a constructive dismissal. If the reduced vacation is replaced by higher remuneration otherwise, then it will be permissible however.

There is an issue whether that amount of vacation loss is enough by itself to be a constructive dismissal. It is close to the line.

About the author

Howard Levitt, Counsel to the national law firm Lang Michener. He is author of, The Law of Dismissal in Canada, The Quick Reference Guide to Employment Law and an upcoming book on Canadian Hiring Law. He is Editor In Chief of the Dismissal & Employmnet Law Digest.

Phone: (416) 307-4059
Website Bio:

Click here to go back to Ask-an-Expert index page.