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Compensation for Travel Time for UWOSA Members

Members have raised the issue of when and how they are entitled to be compensated for travel time and other ‘work time’ when they are conducting University business; examples are job or student fairs especially those out of town. It seems timely to review UWOSA’s position, stated as early as 2001 which is based on legal advice and past arbitration decisions.

Any time during which the employee is required to be available for the University’s purposes is payable. If an employee is entirely free to do as she pleases during this time, it is likely not ‘work’. Only when a staff member clearly goes ‘off duty’ does the obligation to pay wages stop. Such times would include sleepover time, mealtime and free time.

In law, ‘travel time’ which is not to and from the usual place of work is ‘working time’ and time spent so travelling is ‘authorized time worked’ for the purpose of Article 32.03. For example, travel by train or car to and from a designated location is time directed by the employer and should be counted. Refusal to credit this time would likely constitute a violation of Article 32.

If the hours in a regular work week are exceeded as a result of these hours being included, the member is entitled to compensation under Article 32. A department may require that straight time in lieu is taken, but only if it is taken during the same workweek (Sunday to Saturday) that any additional hours were accrued. If not, these hours are considered overtime.

Numerous arbitrations as far back as 1975 (Canadian National Railway Company and Canadian Telecomms Union) have upheld unions’ positions that time spent travelling on employer business, i.e. time directed by the employer, is work time. The 1978 Wiberg and Treasury Board decision has been cited in many subsequent arbitration decisions in favour of unions.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this issue, please contact me at ext 87574 or

Stephanie Macleod
Vice President