Saturday holiday: Do you have to pay?

The plant was located in an area where competent help was in short supply. In an effort to recruit good people, it was decided to include employee birthdays in the paid holidays package. When the union was voted out the birthday holidays policy continued.
By Raymond Dreyfack August 1, 1998

The plant was located in an area where competent help was in short supply. In an effort to recruit good people, it was decided to include employee birthdays in the paid holidays package. When the union was voted out the birthday holidays policy continued.

One day, Utility Worker Bill Berner appeared at his boss’ desk with a complaint. “I wasn’t paid for my birthday.”

Maintenance Foreman Kent Power checked the record.

“Your birthday fell on a Saturday. It’s not a regular work day.”

“What’s the difference? The contract states that I’m entitled to nine paid holidays a year, and one of those days is my birthday.”

“You’re referring to the labor agreement negotiated with the union. The union is out, remember? The new policy manual defines holiday pay for work days. Saturday isn’t a work day.”

“That’s a ripoff if I ever saw one.”

“I’ll take it up with the boss, and let you know what he says.”

Question : Should Berner be paid for his Saturday birthday?

Plant engineer’s decision: “Give Berner the holiday pay,” Plant Engineer Clint Thurbow instructed Power. “Technically we can turn him down. But under the union we gave holiday pay for birthdays whenever they fell. I don’t think it would be a good idea to offer less now that the union is gone.”