Smith v Hayes Albion – 4.27

Smith v Hayes Albion
Digest no. 4.27

Section 48

Cite as: Smith v Hayes Albion, 214 Mich App 82 (1995); lv den 453 Mich 912 (1996).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Bernard Smith, et al.
Employer: Hayes Albion
Docket no.: B86-11358-111657, et al.
Date of decision: October 20, 1995

View/download the full decision

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Where collective bargaining agreement allowed employer to allocate vacation pay to plant shutdown period, vacation payments made were remuneration for the shutdown period and rendered claimants ineligible for benefits.

FACTS: Under 1985 collective bargaining agreement, seniority employees were entitled to vacation or pay in lieu of vacation as specified in Paragraph 90. Paragraph 91 provided that employer could schedule all vacation during a plant shutdown period if certain procedures were followed, such as notification to employees. Pursuant to the contract payments for accrued vacation time were made in February and June, 1986. Employer scheduled a two week shutdown from June 30, 1986, through July 11, 1986. Notices were posted indicating the earned vacation time and pay would be allocated to the shutdown period and that the allocation might render the employees ineligible for unemployment benefits.

DECISION: Claimants are ineligible for benefits under Section 48(2).

RATIONALE: Under Paragraph 90 of the collective bargaining agreement, employees had the option of receiving pay in lieu of vacation. Under Paragraph 91, the employer could allocate vacation pay to plant shutdown period. The fact these provisions appear in separate paragraphs does not mean the payment in lieu of vacation provided for in Paragraph 90 is independent of the period of unemployment (vacation shutdown) provided for in Paragraph 91. Thus the contract did not preclude the employer from designating the vacation pay to the shutdown period. As the employer maintained that discretion, the claimants’ option to take pay in lieu of vacation was extinguished when the employer exercised its Paragraph 91 authority. Therefore the payments were not “bonuses” under Brown v LTV Aerospace Corp, 394 Mich 702 (1975).

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:
7/99