Employees Get Sick – Policies for Sick Days

Sick Employees and the Workplace

Every day, employees call in sick to work. It can be due to a physical illness, mental illness or just needing a day off for personal reasons. Employee absence is an ongoing phenomenon in workplaces everywhere. As an employer, it’s important to know policies and procedures for when employees get sick. As for employees, it’s important to know rights and regulations regarding sick days and calling in policies. For more information regarding what to ask your employee when they are absent from work, read our blog: Know What to ask your Employee when they are Absent from Work.

Statistics for Days off

  • Every day over 500,000 people are not at work due to mental health conditions
  • An average employer lost 9.7 days per employee per year according to Statistics Canada (2011)
  • Employees in unionized and public organizations use more sick/personal days (2011)
  • There are new guidelines under Bill 148 for emergency leave days

How to Support Stay at Work

  • Implement a workplace wellness program – Towers Watson (2013-2014) note that employers realize that a one size fits all health program is not sufficient to support employees
  • Assess psychological health and safety in the workplace to support employees and managers in reducing lost time due to psychological workplace risks
  • Assess physical health and safety including ergonomics, high risk safety issues and preventable illness and injury in the workplace
  • Develop policies and procedures for employees struggling in the workplace to ensure early intervention and resources are provided to maintain stay at work
  • Educate managers on ways to have crucial conversations with employees when they are ill or injured and provide genuine support and offers of modifications
  • Consider onsite and immediate intervention from an Occupational Therapist when an employee identifies a concern so that this can be adjusted to prevent lost time
  • Keep conversations open and honest about the concerns that may be leading to lost time and sickness
  • Communicate about resources in the workplace to improve overall health
  • Provide accommodations for employees requiring adjustments for timely and safe return to work
  • Provide a return to work coordinator to support return to work sustainability.

How We Can Help

Gowan Consulting has many resources for when employees get sick, such as our Occupational Therapy services for early intervention to assist with the employees in the workplace. Whether sickness is due to physical, mental or emotional health, our Occupational Therapists can assist. We provide return to work services that ensure sustainable workplace solutions to implement long-term stay at work for employees in need of assistance. Also, we provide educational workshops and webinars to better your work environment. We currently offer our Cognitive Demands Analysis Certificate Program on April 9th and 10th, 2019, Spaces are filling up fast; Register Now to guarantee your spot to learn all about analyzing employees to determine strengths and weaknesses. This could also help identify factors contributing to used sick days! For a more individualized learning experience, check out our webinars! We have a large range of topics, spanning from Mental Health, to Ergonomics, to Cognitive Demands Analysis programs. Click here for more information!

We hope you take advantage of the services Gowan Consulting provides!
Contact us to learn more about how we can assist you in the workplace!


Work cited

Gowan, N (2016) Human Resources Guide to Managing Disability in the Workplace, 2nd edition, Carswell, Toronto.

Photos retrieved from google.ca/images/sickemployee

Statistics Canada 2011


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