Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Police officers receiving GML §207-c benefits not eligible to accrue leave credits unless such accruals are specifically provided for in the collective bargaining agreement

Police officers receiving GML §207-c benefits not eligible to accrue leave credits unless such accruals are specifically provided for in the collective bargaining agreement
Matter of Incorporated Vil. of Floral Park v Floral Park Police Benevolent Assn.. 2011 NY Slip Op 07840, Appellate Division, Second Department

A Village of Floral Park Police Officer was injured in the line of duty and was provided with benefits pursuant to General Municipal Law §207-c.

When the Village told the officer that he could not accrue any holiday or termination pay, or personal, sick, or vacation days during the disability period. the officer filed a grievance pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement between the Village and the Floral Park Police Benevolent Association.

The Village denied the grievance and the PBA filed a demand for arbitration contending that the underlying issue was a matter of contract interpretation. The Village then commenced an Article 75 proceeding seeking a court order to permanently stay arbitration.

Supreme Court ultimately granted the Village’s petition, which decision the Appellate Division affirmed.

The Appellate Division held that the benefits provided to a police officer pursuant to General Municipal Law §207-c are exclusive, and a collective bargaining agreement will not be construed to implicitly expand such benefits. Thus, said the court, “unless a collective bargaining agreement expressly provides for compensation or benefits to disabled officers in addition to those provided by General Municipal Law §207-c, there is no entitlement to such additional compensation.”*

Despite PBA's contention to the contrary, the Appellate Division found that the controlling collective bargaining agreement did not expressly provide that leave time accrues during the period that a disabled officer is not working and is receiving benefits pursuant to General Municipal Law §207-c. In the words of the court: “Had the parties intended to allow disabled officers to continue to accrue leave time during their period of disability, they could have inserted such language into Article XVI, Section 4, [of the collective bargaining agreement] but they did not do so. Under such circumstances, the dispute is not arbitrable.”

* Chalachan v City of Binghamton, 81 AD2d 973; 55 NY2d 989, considers a similar claim by Binghamton firefighters who were receiving disability benefits under Section 207-a of the General Municipal Law. The firefighters had contended that in addition to those benefits, they were entitled to vacation benefits under their collective bargaining agreement. The Appellate Division dismissed the claim holding that "if every benefit provided active fire fighters in the collective bargaining agreement was intended to include disabled firefighters covered by Section 207-a...the contract should contain language to so provide...(the) contention that they are members of their union...entitled to each and every fringe benefit for which active firefighters work daily is without merit. They do not work to earn vacation pay. They are already paid 52 weeks each year and their construction of the agreement to give them pay for 56 weeks (per year) is rejected".

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General Municipal Law§§ 207-a and 207-c - a 1098 page e-book focusing on administering General Municipal Law Sections 207-a/207-c and providing benefits thereunder is available from the Public Employment Law Press. Click on http://section207.blogspot.com/ for additional information about this electronic reference manual.

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Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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