In Ontario employers are not required to provide unpaid or paid sick leave, or paid benefit plans for sickness to employees. However, employees who work for employers that regularly employ at least 50 employees or more are entitled to unpaid emergency leave in certain situations under theEmployment Standards Act.
Some companies provide a designated number of sick days, while others have an accumulation process. As part of a sick pay program employers must decide whether or not employees are allowed to carry over their allotted sick days or accumulated hours of sick time from year to year. Some of the concerns include:
Are you encouraging the “use it or lose it” philosophy by reminding employees that if they don’t use sick time by the end of the year it’s gone? Employees may feel like they are losing out and feel the need to take the time off. These unplanned absences can result in lost productivity, lowered morale due to having to cover for the “sick employee”, and possibly starting a trend with other employees creating continual absence disruptions.
A possible alternative to combat the “use it or lose it” attitude could be to provide your employees with a set number of sick days, but if they don’t utilize them by the end of the year, they are rewarded with a year end bonus equal to the time off they didn’t use. As always be sure to promote that a healthy workplace is still top priority, and should someone be suffering from a contagious illness that could potentially affect others, staying home and using the sick time is the recommended and preferred option. You don’t want to encourage people coming in sick just to receive it back in the form of a bonus.
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