Under Employment Standards, employees are entitled to sick leave…UNPAID sick leave. In fact, in many industries, paid sick leave is unheard of. Banked sick leave is a completely alien concept to most of us. I do suggest to my clients that they provide some form of paid sick leave, it does no good to have employees coming in and spreading illness around because they can’t afford to take a day off, but to have it banked, and treated as some sort of untouchable right is entitlement of the highest form.
The Tories have suggested a superior option to banked sick leave. They are suggesting a Short Term Disability Plan be implemented in lieu of having banked sick leave. To be clear, they are still offering the equivalent of 6 paid sick leave days, but they cannot be banked.
By offering a STD plan, every employee is eligible for the benefit should they qualify, regardless of length of service. This allows for the less senior members of the public service to have access to a fantastic benefit. This group of employees would greatly benefit from this change.
It saves money…always a good thing, given it is our tax dollars funding any of these plans.
The onus of covering the employees who are on disability presumably will be pushed to the insurance companies who are providing the disability coverage. The onus to do due diligence on the validity of any such claims would also be pushed onto the insurance company. I am making an assumption that an outside party would be administering and providing the disability benefit. Having worked in organizations where management and the union need to argue about the validity of the sick leave taken by an employee makes it crystal clear to me that neither of these parties should be involved in such discussions. And personally, as an employee, I would rather have some faceless entity at an insurance company reviewing my medical records and talking to my doctor than anyone remotely associated with the organization I am working for.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I strongly believe putting in an STD plan is the best for all involved – except maybe those long term employees who were hoping to retire a little earlier by cashing out their accumulated sick leave.