Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the probation period for new hires?

ELECTRICIAN – The probationary period for student electricians who enter phases I, II, and III, or enter phase IV prior to going through phase I, II, and III, extends to sixty (60) creditable days of training in phase IV after completion of phases I, II, and III, regardless of the order of training. However, for any student electrician who has completed 100 creditable days of training in phase IV, prior to going through phases I, II, and III, the probationary period only extends through completion of phases I, II, and III. [Section 3, Electrician Student Agreement]

COMMUNICATION – The probationary period for Student Communications Workers extends to six (6) months from their date of hire, including employees under Section 2 (b} above. [Section 3, Communication Student Agreement}

How do I accrue time off?

Vacation:

1 Week vacation after you complete a qualifying year. You must complete 120 days of service* in a calendar year (Jan. thru Dec.), to be eligible for a vacation in the following calendar year.

2 Weeks after 2 years – must complete 110 days*

3 Weeks after 8 years – must complete 100 days*

4 Weeks after 17 years – must complete 100 days*

5 Weeks after 25 years – must complete 100 days*

*Note – these are working days; vacation, holidays, etc. does not count. However, some days of absent for sickness or disability may count based on years of service (a maximum of 10 days for an employee with less than 3 years’ service, a maximum of 20 days for an employee with 3 years but less than 15 years, and a maximum of 30 days for an employee with 15 years or more. [National Vacation Agreement]

Personal Days:

1 day after 8 qualifying vacation years

2 days after 17 years qualifying vacation years

[Article X, National Agreement]

What is “bridging” a holiday?

Working on one side of the Holiday and taking Vacation on the other side will qualify for Holiday pay. However, taking Vacation on both sides of a Holiday is not allowed unless Vacation is also taken on the Holiday – in such case, Holiday pay is allowed only if the employee works on each side of the Vacation period. Also, note that in situations where personal leave days are taken either immediately preceding or following a holiday, the work day immediately preceding or following the personal leave day is considered as the qualifying day for holiday pay purposes. These applications are illustrated below in an example of July 4th Holiday falling on Wednesday for an employee who has a Monday – Friday work week.

SN  MN  TU  WD  TH  FR  SA                                       COMMENTS

R     PL    W    H     W  W    R        Work on each side of holiday qualifies for payment

R     W     W    H     V    V    R        Work on one side of holiday and vacation on the other qualifies for payment

R     W     W    H    PL   W   R        Work on one side of holiday and personal leave day on the other qualifies for payment if the employee works on the work day (qualifying day) immediately preceding or following the personal leave day

R     W      V     H    V    W    R       Vacation on each side of holiday does NOT qualify for payment, unless vacation is taken on holiday as shown below

R     W     V   H/V   V    W    R       Does qualify for payment because of taking vacation on the holiday. When holiday is within a vacation period the employee qualifies for payment if the assigned days before AND after the vacation period are worked

R     W      V     H     PL    V    R      Does NOT qualify for payment because the employee did not work the work day (qualifying day) immediately following the personal leave day

R     W      V     H     PL    W   R     Does qualify for payment because vacation on one side of the holiday and personal leave day on the other – with the employee working the work day (qualifying day) immediately following the personal leave day

NOTE – For monthly rated employees, stand-by days only apply as a “W” work day (qualifying day) in the above examples when the employee is available per agreement requirements.

How many Bereavement Leave days do I get, and what are the qualifications?

Bereavement leave, not in excess of three calendar days (determined by date of death or date of funeral) will be allowed in case of death of an employee’s spouse, parent, child, sibling or spouse’s parent.  Pay reimbursement is only for actual missed work days.  [Article V, National Agreement]

How are the three calendar days to be determined?

An employee will have the following options in deciding when to take bereavement leave:

  • three consecutive calendar days, commencing with the day of death, when the death occurs prior to the time an employee is scheduled to report for duty;
  • three consecutive calendar days, ending the day of the funeral service; or
  • three consecutive calendar days, ending the day following the funeral service.

Does the three calendar days allowance pertain to each separate instance, or do the three calendar days refer to a total of all instances?

Three days for each separate death: however, there is no pyramiding where a second death occurs within the three-day period covered by the first death.

Example: Employee has a work week of Monday to Friday–off days of Saturday and Sunday. His mother dies on Monday and his father dies on Tuesday. At a maximum, the employee would be eligible for bereavement leave on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Will a day on which a basic day’s pay is allowed account bereavement leave serve as a qualifying day for holiday pay purposes?

No: however, the parties are in accord that bereavement leave non-availability should be considered the same as vacation non-availability and that the first work day preceding or following the employee’s bereavement leave, as the case may be, should be considered as the qualifying day for holiday purpose.

Would an employee be entitled to bereavement leave in connection with the death of a half-brother or half-sister, stepbrother or stepsister, stepparents or stepchildren?

Yes, as to half-brother or half-sister, no as to stepbrother, stepsister, stepparents or stepchildren.

What benefits are offered through the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)?

The RRB offers retirement, unemployment and sickness benefits. For up-to-date information on current benefits packages visit www.rrb.gov.

What are some other benefits that I am eligible for as a railroad employee?

Railroad employees and their families are eligible for supplemental sickness benefits, life insurance, vision care, dental coverage, mental health and substance abuse programs, prescription drug services, etc. Quick links for additional detailed information on these programs can be found at www.yourtracktohealth.com.

What happens to employees under disciplinary action?

ELECTRICIAN – An employee who has been in the service of the carrier for sixty (60) working days shall not be discharged, suspended or otherwise disciplined without a fair and impartial investigation except that an employee may waive an investigation in accordance with Section B (2) of the Agreement. [Rule 29, Section A,1 Electrician Agreement]

COMMUNICATION – An employee hired as a CET or CM who has been in the service of the Carrier for more than 90 calendar days or an employee hired as a SCW who has been in service more than six months shall not be discharged, suspended or otherwise disciplined without a fair and impartial investigation except that an employee may waive an investigation in accordance with Section B (2) of this agreement. [Rule 24, Section a,1 Communication Agreement]

ALL – Under the Norfolk Southern START Disciplinary Program, an alternative handling policy has been adopted for certain infractions, in lieu of formal investigations. [START Policy Quick Reference Guide]

How is the monthly rate calculated (communications & road electricians)?

The monthly rate is currently based on 213 hours per month.  This monthly rate is calculated by the following formula(s):

Average Work Days Per Month

365 days – 52 rest days X 8 hours per day / 12 months = 208 2/3 hours per month

7 Holidays Adjustment (August 21, 1954) – These seven days are in the Average Work Days Per Month calculation.  This additional calculation renders the seven days (already at straight time) as time and one half.  It also takes the additional compensation and distributes it evenly across the 12 months.  This made the monthly rate increase to 211 hours per month.

7 holidays X 8 hours / 2 (half time) / 12 months = 2 1/3 additional hours per month

Birthday & Good Friday Adjustment (January 01, 1965) – The birthday paid off time was exchanged for the Good Friday holiday.  This additional calculation renders the Good Friday Holiday (already at straight time) as time and one half.  It also takes the additional compensation and distributes it evenly across the 12 months.  This made the monthly rate increase to 211 2/3 hours per month.

1 holiday X 8 hours / 2 (half time) / 12 months = 2/3 additional hours per month

Veteran’s Day Adjustment (January 1, 1973) – This additional calculation renders the Veteran’s Day Holiday (already at straight time) as time and one half.  It also takes the additional compensation and distributes it evenly across the 12 months.  This made the monthly rate increase to 212 1/3 hours per month.

Christmas Eve Adjustment (January 1, 1975) – This additional calculation renders the Christmas Eve Holiday (already at straight time) as time and one half.  It also takes the additional compensation and distributes it evenly across the 12 months.  This made the monthly rate increase to 213 hours per month.

Day After Thanksgiving (Rule 15, Communication Agreement) – This day is officially a rest day with no stand-by requirement, despite however the payroll system shows this day.  Instead of increasing the daily rate for the remaining work and stand-by days in the month, the system erroneously shows this day as compensated.  This results in no shortage in pay for the month of November.  However, this method creates the potential for unaware members to miss additional compensation under Rule 15.

What is the IBEW Pension Fund?