Casual versus Temporary Employment at Teck

Casual Job Posting vs Temporary Job Posting

Open Letter to Teck Management

I would like to take this opportunity to explain the difference between Casual employment and Temporary employment and why it is important for your business area and your employees to select the correct employment type for your needs.

Casual employees are defined as individuals who are employed for short periods of time to a maximum of fifteen continuous working days for the purpose of vacation relief, sickness, authorized leave and training.  Casual employees can also be utilized for overload work to a maximum of 10 working days whereupon they are required to take one week off before commencing the next overload assignment.

Temporary employees are defined as individuals who are employed for the purpose of replacing employees absent for sickness, maternity, vacation or authorized leaves of absence in excess of the time lines stated for Casual employees and for up to 4 months, it is possible to exceed this timeline.

The Company practice has been to allow business areas to book their own casuals as required and in several instances the Union has discovered that some Casuals have been working continuously for several months at a time.  When we learn about these circumstances we file a grievance against the Company for violating Article 17.14 of the Collective Agreement.

This is where things get complicated.  When a grievance has been filed for exceeding the Casual employee timelines, the Company must post the position as a Temporary one.  The job posting is now open to all employees and it is possible that the Casual employee you just spent several months training will not be awarded the position.  You can imagine the hardship this creates for the Business Area and the Casual employee who is the innocent victim in this.

So why doesn’t the Union just turn a blind eye and allow the Casual employees to work as much as possible?  Because we are charged with ensuring the rights and privileges of our Collective Agreement are afforded to all of our members.  If there is work available and it exceeds the Casual timelines, then it must be posted.  To ignore that article of the collective agreement denies other employee’s their rights.

Thankfully, there is an easy answer to this issue.  Post the correct category of work in the first place.  In the end, both you and your employee will benefit, and this is why.  Casual employees are subjected to several disadvantages over Temporary or Permanent Employees.  Here are the most important ones.

  1. When Casual employees apply for internal job postings their seniority is not considered.  Casual employees are considered external applicants for the purposes of job postings.
  2. If the Company decides at a later date to post a Casual position as Temporary, the Casual employee may not be the successful candidate, read #1
  3. Casual employees do not receive benefits, they are paid $0.75/hr in lieu of benefits which doesn’t come close to compensation for our benefit plan
  4. It is stressful for Casual employees to have to work contrary to the Collective Agreement and fosters a poor relationship between our members, the Union and the Company

Temporary employees have the following advantages over Casual Employees

  1. They know they have work for a certain period of time with a fixed schedule; job security
  2. Upon completing 4 months of temporary employment temporary employees are considered regular employees and are eligible for the benefits of a regular employee
  3. Upon achieving regular employee status, if the employee is awarded another Temporary position  within three months of the last assignment they retain their regular employee status
  4. Temporary employees upon achieving Regular Employee status can compete on a level playing field with the rest of our Union members for all internal job postings
  5. If a Temporary assignment should become permanent, the employee shall be confirmed in the position on a permanent basis.

While it may take extra effort to post Temporary jobs vs appointing a Casual to do your work, in the long run you will have ensured that your employee is treated equitably and you will have provided the best opportunity for them to gain full time permanent work.  If you have any questions or comments, I would like to hear them.

Chuck Macklon