January 20, 2016

A New Look At Some Old Benefits

With the New Year upon us, and with Dow Jones staff in the United States returning to work after a long MLK Day weekend, we offer yet another reminder to file for Holiday Pay . . . because, after all, it IS your money, guaranteed by your contract.

But wait — do you really know about all the ways the IAPE/DJ collective agreement provides for additional compensation, in time and money, beyond the regular salary you earn and pay deposit you receive every two weeks?

Sure, we send out our Holiday Pay advisory before or after each contract-recognized holiday (eight holidays in the United States, nine for members in Canada) to let you know that Article VIII provides time and one-half for regular hours worked on holidays, and double-time for extra hours, along with an additional day\'s pay or comp day in lieu of the holiday — but did you know that Article II of the agreement provides a mechanism for that comp time to be paid in cash?

From the contract:

Employees are responsible for scheduling days off in order to use up all available Comp Time within ninety (90) days of when it is earned. Employees must exercise reasonable diligence in attempting to schedule all available Comp Time. If the employee\'s manager denies all requests and the employee is prevented from scheduling the Comp Time within ninety (90) days, the Company shall pay out the Comp Time in cash.

This comp time provision also applies to hours earned for work performed on a scheduled day off (SDO) when that work does not qualify for premium pay. See our Premium Pay page for more info, or check out the rest of Article II in the IAPE contract. Of course, for full-time employees who are eligible for overtime, comp time isn\'t even a consideration for SDO work — you MUST be paid time-and-one-half for your extra hours.

We also find ourselves beginning a new vacation year. Did you know that all full-time IAPE-represented employees receive at least three weeks of vacation time each year? Employees with three years\' continuous service are entitled to four weeks of vacation, and employees with six years\' continuous service receive five weeks.

(Legacy Factiva employees who had earned six weeks of vacation time as of 2008 are still entitled to those six weeks this year, per our Factiva Acquisition Agreement document.)

Regular part-time employees are entitled to two weeks of paid vacation after one year of service, three weeks after four years and four weeks after seven years.

If you cross a service anniversary threshold anytime during this calendar year, you are entitled to the corresponding vacation allotment anytime during this year. In other words: if you are a full-time staffer and your sixth anniversary is in July of 2016, you are entitled to five weeks of vacation time now.

From Article IX of the contract:

The Company will grant vacation with pay to regular full-time Employees based on the Employee achieving the specified length of continuous service at any time during the current vacation year.

Schedule that time off or keep it for a payout in case you leave the Company sometime this year — but remember this: for payout purposes, vacation time vests on a monthly basis. If you decide to leave Dow Jones this month, the Company will pay you the equivalent of one-twelfth of your time, minus any vacation days already used. If you leave in June, you\'ll receive pay for half your vacation time, minus any days used. However, if you are able, you may schedule all your vacation days at any point in the year.

Employees are also entitled to six "floating holidays" to be used during the calendar year. These days are not eligible for payout upon departure.

There are lots of interesting items and benefits provided and guaranteed by our contract — shift differential, standby pay, severance pay, and so on. And as we move deeper into 2016, you\'ll hear more and more about those benefits from us. This is another contract negotiation year for IAPE and Dow Jones, and we don\'t expect another one-year extension of our current deal.

In the coming weeks, we\'ll be asking for your thoughts on negotiations — what you\'d like to see in your contract, and what we can do to make your contract a better contract. Of course, your input and feedback is always welcome; don\'t feel you need to wait for an invitation to offer your thoughts about your contract, or any IAPE matter.

In the meantime, take a few minutes to leaf through that agreement document again. Even Dow Jones veterans occasionally forget about all our negotiated benefits and guarantees. You never know, you may find you\'re entitled to a few extra bucks to start the year — and that\'s never a bad thing.

Here\'s to 2016.