Handling Disability Management Cases - Non-Work Related: Employee Will Go On Leave
Disability Management in the Federal Public Service
When the employee will be absent from the workplace due to a non-work related injury, illness or medical condition, managers should:
- Administer the leave, (Proceed to Non-work related: Administer the leave) once they are satisfied with the medical information needed to support the employee's leave (Reasons for requesting a medical certificate to support an employee's leave).
- Keep the employee connected to the workplace during the absence. This will support the employee's safe and timely return to work. Proceed to Communication when the employee is on leave.
- Establish a mechanism for maintaining communication during the absence.
- Provide the employee with all relevant information to support recovery and return to work, including the following:
- Related policies and benefits information in Managing for Wellness - Appendix C - Disability Management Policies, Directives, Standards and Guidelines and
- Contact information for the Employee Assistance Program, which may provide support to both the employee and his or her family members during the employee's absence and recovery.
- Discuss the situation with your team, maintaining the employee's right to privacy. Where possible, consult with the employee first to determine what information, if any, they would like you to share. This may not always be possible. Consult Labour Relations if you have any concerns.
- Be mindful that an employee's injury or illness may affect a unit's ability to meet operational goals and objectives. Determine whether performance expectations need to be amended in light of the employee's abilities, functional limitations and restrictions.
- Reassess staffing needs, if applicable.
Note: In some instances it may be necessary to permanently backfill the position of an employee on long-term leave. In such cases, the person benefits from a leave-of-absence priority entitlement at the time the position is backfilled and would be in a position to exercise the entitlement once the employee is able to return to work. For more information consult with Human Resources and familiarize yourself with Managing for Wellness – 5.4.2 - Managing Without the Ill or Injured Employee.
If an employee will be on a long-term leave but there are indications that the employee will be able to return to work within the foreseeable future, depending on the situation, managers should:
- Maintain contact with the employee. Continue to monitor the progress of the case.
- If the employee does not have a reassessment date, ask the employee and the insurer to provide a date when a reassessment will take place, as appropriate to the employee's circumstances.
- Following any reassessment, ask the employee and his or her practitioner for documentation related to the employee's ability to return to work (e.g., information as to whether further leave is required, date of return to work or date of next reassessment, and information regarding abilities, functional limitations and restrictions) Proceed to Managing for Wellness - Appendix B - Template for Requesting a Medical Certificate. For help in getting the information or assistance in interpreting it, consult Human Resources.
- Advise the employee of any managerial change. Pass the file for the employee on to the new manager, and make the new manager aware of the need to remain in contact with the employee during the duration of the leave.
Continue with the process above until such a time as the situation changes to one of the following options:
- The employee has a return-to-work date. Proceed to Return to work.
- It is determined that the employee is unable to return to work within a reasonable time. Proceed to Employee is unable to return to work: Options.
Best practice tip: Maintaining contact with an employee during an absence is a good management practice. It keeps the manager informed about the employee's situation and helps arrange for the return to work. It also keeps the employee connected to the workplace. This is particularly important during longer absences.
- Administering the leave
- If the employee does not have sufficient sick leave
- Reasons for requesting a medical certificate to support an employee's leave
Non-Work Related: Administer the Leave
- Inform the employee about his or her options, responsibilities and rights.
- Provide the employee with relevant information (e.g., collective agreement, leave balance information).
- Verify the format of employee leave requests.
- Before granting sick leave, with or without pay, substantiate the employee's inability to work as the result of an injury, illness or medical condition.
- Allow the employee to use available sick leave.
What if the employee does not have enough sick leave available. Proceed to Non-work related: The employee does not have sufficient sick leave?
- Advise the employee not to wait until he or she has exhausted sick leave credits before applying for disability insurance. Employees may also apply for Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits to bridge the gap between sick leave and disability insurance. Contact Compensation or Human Resources for additional information.
- Advise Compensation if the employee will be taking sick leave without pay so that salary overpayments and subsequent recoveries from the employee's pay can be avoided.
- If the employee is applying for disability insurance, complete the employer's portion of forms for application of benefits within the specified time frame.
You must complete the employer portion of the DI (Part 2) or PSMIP-LTD (Part 3) form promptly and thoroughly to avoid delays in the processing of the employee's claim. If you require assistance, contact Human Resources.
Non-Work Related: The Employee Does Not Have Sufficient Sick Leave
When an employee does not have sufficient sick leave to cover the time that the employee will be on leave, the manager and the employee may consider the following options.
- Advanced sick leave credits: These may be granted to the employee at the manager's discretion as specified in the applicable terms and conditions or collective agreement. Any leave granted will be deducted from sick leave credits subsequently earned when the employee returns to work. Employees should be urged to consider the repercussions before pursuing this option. If employment is later terminated for reasons of incapacity, outstanding sick leave advances may or may not be recovered depending on the wording of the applicable collective agreement. Likewise, an employee who returns to work will not have access to sick leave credits until the advanced credits have been replaced.
- Sick leave without pay: The manager must advise Compensation when an employee will be taking leave without pay for reasons of illness or injury. In order to minimize any delay in accessing additional benefits (Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits, disability insurance), if possible, you should advise Compensation of the employee's use of leave without pay in advance of the depletion of other leave credits. Contact Compensation for more information.
- Vacation or compensatory leave: It is not recommended that the employee use vacation or compensatory leave. Contact Human Resources if the employee plans to do so.
Note: If the employee will be on extended leave without pay, consult Human Resources for additional support and information.
Reasons for Requesting a Medical Certificate to Support an Employee's Leave
In cases where an employee will go on leave, a manager may request the employee to provide a medical certificate from the treating medical practitioner. The most common reasons to make such a request are as follows:
- Ensuring that the employee gets medical help;
- Compiling information required for benefits under Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits, disability insurance, or rehabilitation vocational services provided by the insurer, should the employee eventually need them;
- Laying the groundwork for the employee's return to work;
- Beginning to prepare for any workplace accommodation that may be required by the employee;
- Verifying the period of leave (when the request is for an extended period of time);
- Verifying the required sick leave (when the manager has concerns over the amount of sick leave used or the pattern of sick leave, such as an excessive amount of sick leave taken on Fridays); and
- Satisfying the manager that the injury, illness or disability was sufficient to prevent an employee from reporting to work.
If the employee is required to submit a medical certificate, the costs for the medical certificate will not be reimbursed by the employer. Please consult Human Resources for more information.
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