Date and Instance of Approval:
March 13, 2023
Vice-President, Finance and Administration
1.1 This procedure is established pursuant to Policy 9 - Leave for Regular Non-Unionized Administrative and Support Staff (“Policy 9”) and is intended to outline the means by which Human Resources determines and administers sick leave for non-unionized regular administrative and support staff with positions classified as Confidential category (NC) or Management category (NM), as defined in section 2.1 of Policy 9.
2.1 The definitions below apply to this procedure, which may also include terms defined in Policy 9.
Health Care Provider: A regulated health professional as defined in the Ontario Regulated Health Professions Act.
Long-term Disability Leave: Leave of absence granted after the staff member has been on a Sick Leave Period of 119 consecutive days, on the condition that the University’s long-term disability insurance plan provider approves the application.
Medical Certificate: A University form available from the Health and Wellness section (Human Resources) that is to be completed and signed by the staff member’s Health Care Provider.
Medical Note: A note that includes the name of the staff member, the date of the medical consultation and the leave dates, along with the name, the registration number and signature of the Health Care Provider.
Sick Leave Period: A staff member’s absence from work because of the staff member’s illness, injury, or medical emergency, which can range from hours to a maximum of 119 calendar days and has been approved by Health and Wellness.
3. SCOPE & APPLICATION
3.1 This procedure applies to regular administrative and support staff in non-unionized NC or NM positions who have at least two (2) weeks of employment with uOttawa and who require a Sick Leave Period due to personal illness, injury, or medical emergency. This procedure does not address Long-term Disability Leave.
3.2 This procedure is to be read and applied in conjunction with Policy 9 - Leave for Regular Non-Unionized Administrative and Support Staff.
Supervisor: Assists in the administration of requests for sick leave and ensures compliance with both Policy 9 and this procedure. Facilitates staff members’ return to work as well as implementation of accommodation measures.
Human Resources: Ensures compliance with and consistent application of Policy 9 and this procedure.
Health and Wellness: Administers the Sick Leave Period as well as managing medical accommodations and the return to work.
5. SICK LEAVE
5.1.1 A staff member may be eligible to take a Sick Leave Period with pay when the staff member must be absent from work due to personal illness, injury, or medical emergency, provided that the staff member meets the conditions set out in this procedure. Renewal of a Sick Leave Period is outlined in section ten (10) of this procedure.
5.1.2 If the Sick Leave Period is approved, staff members are paid one hundred per cent of their base salary for the approved Sick Leave Period from the date they first became ill or injured.
a) The staff member’s base salary is paid until the end of the Sick Leave Period or until the staff member’s statutory notice period date, if the staff member has been terminated, whichever occurs first. Any gradual return to work is included when calculating the maximum Sick Leave Period.
b) The staff member’s base salary during the Sick Leave Period is reduced by:
i) any amounts received by the staff member from the applicable workplace safety and insurance board or authority; and
ii) the amount of similar benefits received by the staff member under a government or private insurance plan because of illness or injury.
5.1.3 Sick leave days cannot be accumulated or carried over from one calendar year to the next. They are not a form of compensation and thus are not paid out at the end of a year or when employment ends.
5.2 CONDITIONS FOR ELIGIBILITY
Staff members are eligible for a paid Sick Leave Period provided they meet all the following conditions and all other provisions under this procedure:
a) At the outset of the staff member’s personal illness, injury, or medical emergency, the staff member must notify the immediate supervisor as soon as possible of the Sick Leave Period and enter the absence in the leave management system.
b) If the staff member’s absence exceeds the expected Sick Leave Period, the staff member must notify the supervisor of the new expected return date confirmed by the Health Care Provider.
c) The University can require that staff members provide reasonable proof to the Health and Wellness section under the circumstances that they are entitled to the Sick Leave Period.
d) A supervisor can request a medical note for an absence of less than five (5) consecutive working days if the supervisor has reason to doubt the validity of the sick leave request.
e) For every Sick Leave Period of five (5) to ten (10) consecutive working days the staff member must submit a Medical Note to the Health and Wellness section within five (5) working days after returning to work. Otherwise, the sick leave is denied, and the staff member is deemed to be on unauthorized leave and no compensation is paid for the days not worked.
f) If the staff member’s absence exceeds ten (10) consecutive working days, the staff member must submit a Medical Certificate to the Health and Wellness section no later than twenty (20) calendar days after the first day of absence. After that period, if the staff member does not provide either a Medical Certificate or reasonable proof under the circumstances of entitlement to a Sick Leave Period, the days not worked are considered as unpaid leave.
g) Regardless of the duration of the Sick Leave Period, if the supervisor has reasonable doubts about the sick leave request, the supervisor can request that the staff member submit a Medical Certificate to the Health and Wellness section.
h) The Medical Certificate must be for the expected absence of the staff member due to the staff member’s own illness, injury, or medical emergency. If the staff member remains absent from work due to the staff member’s own illness, injury, or medical emergency beyond the period indicated in the Medical Certificate, the staff member must obtain and submit a new Medical Certificate to the Health and Wellness section.
i) Staff members who continue to be absent after the maximum Sick Leave Period may be eligible for Long-term Disability Leave if they meet the Long-term Disability eligibility conditions established by the University’s long-term disability insurance plan provider. If the latter decides that the conditions are not met, the staff member must submit an updated Medical Certificate completed by their Health Care Provider to Health and Wellness as soon as possible for the University to determine their employment status.
Sick leave requests under this procedure can be denied in the following circumstances:
6.1 LEAVE WITHOUT PAY
6.1.1 A staff member who is injured or becomes ill while on leave without pay is not eligible for a paid Sick Leave Period under this procedure.
6.1.2 Staff members who become ill or injured while on leave without pay must notify their immediate supervisor of the date on which they are first absent due to personal illness, injury, or medical emergency. They must provide a Medical Certificate before the leave without pay ends and can receive their salary starting on the date when they were originally scheduled to return to work, for the remainder of the Sick Leave Period.
6.2 STAFF MEMBERS ON VACATION
6.2.1 Staff members who become ill or injured during their vacation and must extend their absence beyond their vacation period only begin their Sick Leave Period at the end of their vacation period.
6.2.2 Staff members who are hospitalized because of an illness or injury that occurred during a vacation can postpone the remainder of their vacation. The staff member must provide proof of hospitalization to the Health and Wellness section, which determines the staff member’s eligibility for a Sick Leave Period.
6.3 TERMINATED STAFF MEMBERS
6.3.1 Staff members who become ill or injured during the statutory notice period provided for under the ESA may be eligible for Sick Leave Period until the end of the statutory notice period.
6.4 OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES
6.4.1 A staff member who undergoes a cosmetic procedure normally not covered under a provincial health insurance plan might not be eligible for a Sick Leave Period.
6.4.2 If any complications arise from a cosmetic procedure requiring a Sick Leave Period, conditions for eligibility for a Sick Leave Period under this procedure apply.
7. OTHER CONDITIONS
7.1 ACCOMMODATION AND RETURN TO WORK
.1.2 The University offers a work transition program to accommodate staff members who request modified duties and/or work hours and have provided Health and Wellness with supporting documentation from the staff member’s Health Care Provider. The University will offer reasonable accommodation measures to staff members with restrictions or functional limitations to facilitate their return to work as outlined in the Healthy and Safe Return-to-Work program (accessible through VirtuO).
7.1.3 Staff members who request modified duties and/or work hours must make their needs known, provide information about relevant restrictions or limitations, including a Medical Certificate if requested by Health and Wellness, and discuss possible accommodations with the Health and Wellness section.
8. SPECIAL SITUATIONS REQUIRING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
8.1 At any time, supervisors can review the absence records of their staff and can consult with Human Resources if there are concerns about a staff member’s repeated absences and the ability of the staff member to carry out the essential duties of their position. The staff member’s personal health information will not be disclosed to their supervisor.
8.2 Should the Health and Wellness section have questions regarding a completed Medical Certificate, it can, with the staff member’s consent, contact the Health Care Provider with specific questions related to the absence or accommodation needs.
8.2.1 Following the steps outlined in section 8.2, if questions remain regarding the Sick Leave Period or accommodation request, the supervisor can require the staff member to undergo an independent assessment, such as an independent medical examination (IME), a functional abilities evaluation (FAE) or functional capacity evaluation (FCE), to determine if the staff member is eligible for a Sick Leave Period, is able to return to work or requires accommodation measures. The supervisor must inform the staff member of such an assessment. The independent assessment provider sends the assessment report to the Health and Wellness section and, with staff member consent, to the staff member’s treating Health Care Provider.
8.3 If the report as outlined in 8.2.1 does not provide evidence that the staff member is entitled to a paid Sick Leave Period due to an illness, injury, or medical emergency, but the staff member’s Health Care Provider maintains the staff member cannot return to work, the staff member is placed on unpaid leave. For the first 119 calendar days that the staff member is absent from work, the staff member must submit a Medical Certificate once every month for the supervisor to determine the staff member’s employment status.
8.4 If staff members have frequent absences from work and do not provide adequate reasons and documentation certifying that their absence is due to a personal illness, injury, or medical emergency, the Health and Wellness section can notify them that they will be deemed to be misusing or abusing sick leave if they fail to provide such supporting documentation within the period stated in the notice. The supervisor is notified in order to address the situation with the staff member. Misuse or abuse of sick leave can lead to disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment.
9. RENEWAL OF THE SICK LEAVE PERIOD
9.1 To renew a Sick Leave Period, staff members must:
a) return to work for one (1) complete working day at their regular work schedule if the personal illness, injury, or medical emergency is the result of a completely different cause.
b) return to work for thirty (30) consecutive calendar days if the personal illness, injury, or medical emergency is the result of the same cause. During this period of thirty (30) consecutive calendar days, if they take other leave (such as vacation), the 30 day period restarts.
10. MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS AND TREATMENTS
10.1 Staff members must endeavour to schedule their medical appointments outside of work hours, or at the beginning or end of the workday to minimize the impact of their absence on operations of their faculty or service.
10.2 Staff members must give their immediate supervisor reasonable notice when a medical appointment or treatment has been scheduled.
10.3 Time taken by staff members during regular work hours for their own medical appointments is accounted for and treated as a Sick Leave Period unless the staff member has obtained the prior approval of their supervisor to make up for their absence by working the time in hours of work missed due to the absence.
11.1 The Health and Wellness section only collects, uses or discloses personal information and personal health information in compliance with University Procedure 20-9 — Handling of Personal Health Information and Policy 90.
11.2 In order to protect confidentiality, medical notes and certificates must be sent by the staff member directly to the Health and Wellness section.
11.3 Staff members are not required to disclose the nature of their illness or the name of their attending physician to their immediate supervisor.