CCCA gives staff two paid days over Christmas

·2 min read

The Catfish Creek Conservation Authority board members agreed to give staff two additional paid days off around Christmas, instead of forcing them to use their vacation time.

Further, a maximum of 10 vacation days are permitted to be carried over into next year, and the CCCA waived the requirement to use the carried over time by March 31, 2021.

The CCCA office is closed from December 24 at 12 p.m. and reopens January 4, 2021 (the Monday after New Year’s Day), as is standard practice for the organization every year. Staff will get Tuesday, Dec. 29 and Wednesday, Dec. 30 as paid days off.

CCCA general manager Chris Wilkinson presented a series of options to board members at their Nov. 12 meeting, including allowing all staff to work from home during that time.

“One of the ideas that came up is just to keep it simple is to give staff an additional two days paid off over that Christmas holiday to limit that need to work over the vacation period this year,” said Mr. Wilkinson.

“That’s just an option, we can work from home or force staff to take vacation days.”

Board member Sally Martyn asked if the holidays were ever taken off an employee’s vacation time in the past. Mr. Wilkinson referred to this as “forced vacation,” and this was done in 2018.

“The staff have done an extraordinary job through these trying times,” said CCCA board chair Rick Cerna. “I think to give them two paid vacation days is minimal to the fact of what they’ve achieved throughout the year. It’s like a little added bonus.”

Board member Arthur Oslach was in agreement, called two paid days off “reasonable.”

Water Management Technician Peter Dragunas said that while the office may be closed, he was always watching for potential flooding each year, and responds as required.

“If there’s any threat, I’m on it,” he said. “I have been out there actually on New Year’s Eve day. It doesn’t shut down that way.”

Conservation Areas Supervisor Dusty Underhill agreed with Mr. Dragunas, and said he consistently keeps an eye on the office, even during the holidays.

According to Mr. Wilkinson’s report, many vacations were cancelled and staff often worked instead of taking time off this year due to COVID-19.

Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express