Bullock: Under Collective Bargaining, 10 Hours Holiday Pay OK with 4/10 Work Schedule
HELENA – County workers who regularly work four 10-hour days may get 10 hours pay for public holidays if it is negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement, Attorney General Steve Bullock concluded in an opinion issued late last week.
The opinion was requested by Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan. Corrigan sought to clarify whether a collective bargaining agreement between the county and some road and bridge workers, who routinely work four 10-hour days (“4/10″) a week, could legally require the county to pay 10 hours, rather than the standard eight hours, for public holidays.
Bullock’s opinion found that this practice is consistent with both the Montana Collective Bargaining for Public Employees Act and with previous Attorney General Opinions.
“Holiday pay is specifically identified as a subject of collective bargaining, since it relates both to the amount of compensation, i.e. “wages,” that the employee receives, as well as to the “hours” worked under a 4/10 work schedule,” Bullock said in the opinion.
Since the question of accounting for holiday pay when a county employee works a 4/10 workweek under a collective bargaining agreement is not explicitly addressed by any state law, the opinion concludes that the county and public employees “are free to bargain collectively, and the public employer may abide by a resulting agreement that is otherwise lawful.”
Opinions of the attorney general carry the weight of law unless a court overturns them or the legislature modifies the laws involved.