The Attendance/Absenteesism/Accommodation Policy and Procedures are currently being revised.
“All employees are required to follow procedures with respect to reporting absences and providing medical certification when absent as a result of illness, injuries and other circumstances that may cause them to miss work.
Furthermore, the College acknowledges that employees who are unable to perform their regular duties as a result of illness, injury, diminished capacity or disability will be accommodated if possible, as per requirements of the Ontario Human Rights Code or the Workplace Safety Insurance Act.”
Board of Governors
1. Reporting Brief Absences
- For 1 to 3 days -
- An employee who is unable to report to work is required to contact his/her immediate supervisor as far ahead of normal start time as possible. If the employee does not know when he/she will be returning to work, then the supervisor must be contacted on each day of absence to indicate that he/she will not be reporting to work.
- In addition, any work related illness/injury must be recorded on a Personal Injury/Accident Report completed by the employee and/or supervisor and forwarded to the Health and Safety Office.
2. Reporting Extended Absences
- For more than 3 days -
- An employee who is absent from work due to illness/injury for a period of more than three consecutive working days is required to provide his/her supervisor with medical documentation prior to their return to work. Where the employee is able to return to work within 5 days, without limitations, the medical documentation need only indicate the reason for absence and confirm that the employee is fully capable of returning to full duties. If an employee can return to work but has physical and/or functional limitations please refer to Section 4. Accommodation
- For more than 5 days -
- An employee, who continues to be absent from work for more than 5 consecutive working days, must contact his/her supervisor and Employee Relations and provide appropriate medical documentation.
- The medical documentation must include the reason for absence, a prognosis, an expected date of return and if applicable, any work restrictions/limitations.
- The supervisor and/or Employee Relations will be responsible for contacting and forwarding the information to the Health, Safety and Wellness Department. The Health, Safety and Wellness Department will then work with the employee, supervisor and/or medical practitioner to ensure that appropriate attendance procedures and/or accommodation measures, where required, are put in place.
3. Medical Information
- Where an employee has prolonged, frequent or recurrent (patterned) absences, more extensive medical documentation will be requested, reviewed and assessed by the Health, Safety and Wellness Department during an employee's absence and prior to an employee returning to work. All employees are to ensure appropriate medical information is submitted. The information must include the reason for absence, a prognosis, an expected date of return and if applicable, any work restrictions/limitations based on the duties as set out in the position/classification description and how it affects the employee.
- In addition to the above, an employee who is returning from absences greater than 5 days, Short Term Disability (STD), Worker's Safety Insurance Act (WSIA) or Long Term Disability (LTD) benefits, will be required to provide medical documentation. The documentation must confirm that the employee is medically capable of returning to his/her former position and identify the physical and/or functional limitations, if any, for accommodation purposes. This medical information must be supplied to the Health, Safety and Wellness Department at least 7 days prior to the expected date of return.
- The costs associated with obtaining medical documentation are the responsibility of the employee unless the Health, Safety and Wellness Department requests the employee to supply further medical information.
- Where there is incomplete and/or conflicting medical documentation, the employee will be required to submit additional information from his/her physician or authorize his/her physician to release further information to the Health, Safety and Wellness Department. As well, the College reserves the right to request an employee to attend a medical examination by a physician designated by the College at any time during an absence.
- All medical information collected will remain confidential and shall not be used or disclosed for purposes other than that for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as required by law.
ALL ACCOMMODATION MEASURES REQUIRED BY THE ONTARIO HUMAN RIGHTS CODE MUST BE ASSESSED AND APPROVED BY THE REDC.
The Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) requires employers to accommodate employees who are unable to perform their regular duties as a result of persistent physical, mental, psychiatric, sensory or learning impairment, short of undue hardship.
Accommodation measures require the College to make every reasonable effort to respond to the needs of the disabled person or injured employee.
The determination whether or not an employee can perform the essential duties of the job is the responsibility of the Health, Safety and Wellness Department in conjunction with the employee's supervisor, the employee and medical practitioner(s).
Where requests for accommodation are received from an individual employee as a result of a disability as defined by the OHRC, the employee will be required to submit information detailing any limitations that may require accommodation. The information must be received from his/her physician or the employee may authorize his/her physician to release further information to the Health, Safety and Wellness Department. Complete medical documentation is required in order to accurately assess and develop, where possible, the most appropriate employment plan.
- Similarly, the Workplace Safety Insurance Act (WSIA) requires employers to reinstate injured employees short of undue hardship. When a workplace injury occurs, the workplace parties are required under the WSIA to co-operate and work together in achieving the employee's early and safe return to appropriate employment.
Appropriate employment is where an employee has the skills and is within the worker's physical abilities which restores, where possible, the employee to their pre-injury earnings. Full recovery is not always necessary if the work being returned to is safe and within the employee's functional abilities.
It is the responsibility of the employee to:
- provide all necessary documentation and medical information regarding the injury;
- contact the Health, Safety and Wellness Department as soon as possible after the injury occurs and maintain communication throughout the period of recovery or disability;
- participate in a return-to-work program that is consistent with an employee's physical and/or functional abilities in order to restore pre-injury earnings, where possible.
- In any case, where an employee is capable of returning to work even though he/she may have a disability, a job related or non job related injury, or an extended illness, the College through the Health, Safety and Wellness Department has the responsibility for assessing any limitations requiring accommodation for the employees
- During the accommodation period, the employee is responsible for meeting his/her job requirements, communicating his/her needs and limitations to the Supervisor and the Health, Safety and Wellness Department, indicating where accommodation is not working and avoiding work activities that will further complicate his/her disability or injury. These accommodations are meant to ensure that the employee meets his/her job performance expectations and continues to be successful in his/her position.
- In any of the above circumstances, the Health, Safety and Wellness Department must receive medical documentation from the employee's physician certifying the employee's physical or functional limitations, if any, based on the employee's position/classification description.
During the period of absence and prior to returning to employment, the Health, Safety and Wellness Department will follow-up with the employee and/or the Physician where sufficient information has not been provided. The Health, Safety and Wellness Department will work with the supervisor, the doctor(s) and Employee Relations to ensure appropriate accommodations are put in place.
5. Managing Absenteeism
It is the responsibility of each supervisor to;
- accurately report absenteeism to Employee Relations and the Health, Safety and Wellness Department in a timely manner;
- contact an employee immediately when he/she fails to report to work;
- ensure adequate medical documentation is provided by the employee in accordance with these procedures;
- monitor and report frequent or recurrent absenteeism to the Health, Safety and Wellness Department;
- Supply the Health, Safety and Wellness Department and Employee Relations with all medical notes where the employee has been absent for more than 5 consecutive days and/or where the employee has limitations;
- ensure that contact has been made with the Health, Safety and Wellness Department, Employee Relations and the Health and Safety Department immediately in the event of a work related injury/illness;
- monitor an employee's back to work progress after an extended illness;
- monitor the employee's accommodation measures;
- seek advice and/or counsel from Employee Relations or the Health, Safety and Wellness Department, where needed.
6. Medical Appointments
An employee requiring time off to attend medical appointments must inform his/her supervisor as far in advance as possible to allow for coverage and the re-scheduling of work assignments. Wherever possible, an employee should arrange for medical appointments outside of normal working hours, particularly for frequent or recurring appointments. Time required to attend appointments during working hours will be at the discretion of the College.
7. Disciplinary Guidelines
An employee who falls to: report to work for his/her assigned duties; comply with attendance/absenteeism requirements; or is absent without properly or previously authorized leave may be subject to disciplinary action. However, where absenteeism results from illness or other conditions beyond the employee's control, disciplinary action is not an appropriate response; nonetheless, discharge from employment can occur where the College can establish that the employee's attendance record is poor and falls below the departmental average and that there is no reasonable likelihood of regular attendance in the foreseeable future.