Sickness in the workplace is an unfortunate reality that every employer must deal with. And the negative effects this has are plain to see, which include a reduction in productivity and increased staff shortage.
Especially through peak periods of the spread of sickness (e.g. flu season), it’s essential that your business takes steps to protect staff.
While sickness in the workplace is not entirely avoidable, well-developed policies can reduce spread of infection by ensuring sick employees stay home. Having protocols in place also ensure your employees receive their correct sick leave entitlements.
This should include:
- Outlined processes to follow when an employee falls ill.
- A sick leave policy.
- A commitment to provide employees with their sick day/pay leave entitlements.
And when granting entitlements, you must act in accordance with the Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA) to stay compliant and protect your business.
Curb sickness in the workplace with proper processes
As an employer, there are things that you can do and processes that you can put in place to reduce spread of sickness in your workplace.
- Ask that employees stay home if they are feeling ill.
- Share guidance on proper handwashing techniques, and regularly sanitize workstations.
- Request that employees report flu-like symptoms to their manager and stay home when sick.
Entitled sick days and sick leave
In Saskatchewan, employees can take time off from work if they fall ill without fear of termination, layoffs, changes to hours of work, intimidation, reduction in wages, loss of opportunity for promotion, demotion, or transfer. Some employers may choose to let employees use vacation time as “sick leave”.
If an employee has worked for an employer for 13 consecutive weeks, an employer cannot discipline an employee if any of the following take place:
- If an absence does not exceed 12 days in a calendar year for a non serious illness or injury.
- If an absence does not exceed 12 weeks in a 52-week period for a serious illness or injury.
- If an employee who is receiving benefits under the Workers Compensation Act is absent for a period that does not exceed 26 weeks out of 52 weeks.
Employers in Saskatchewan do not mandate paid sick leave under the Saskatchewan Employment Act.
Developing a sick leave policy
It’s essential you develop a sick leave policy that clearly states your expectations regarding how an employee should report and sickness related absence and request sick leave.
Things your policy should cover include:
- If you require that an employee provide a doctor’s note.
- A plan for who will take over the employee’s duties while they are away on sick leave.
- How you will respond if concerning absence patterns appear.
- Whether you plan to offer a paid sick leave – whether or not this is provided is based on the employer’s discretion – unless already provisioned in the applicable employment standards legislation.
Need help developing a sick leave policy?
If you need help developing a sick leave policy or are at all unclear about sick leave entitlements, Employer Line is here to help. Our experts are on the line to support you through this and ensure compliance with the SEA. Call Employer Line today at 1 888 950 6545.