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 shortages.   

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 Newfoundland and Labrador’s Labour Standards Act (LSA) 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 ensure you reduce the spread of sickness in your workplace.   

Such as:  

  • Ask that employees stay home if they are feeling ill.   
  • Provide 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 Newfoundland and Labrador, the Labour Standards Act allows for several sickness related leaves which employees may utilize.  

These include:  

Sick/Family Responsibility Leave:  

Once an employee has worked for an employer for at least 30 days, they are owed 7 days of this unpaid leave. If the leave lasts for 3 or more days, they must provide a certificate from a qualified medical practitioner.   

Compassionate Care Leave:  

Any employee who has worked for the same employer for at least 30 days is entitled to 28 weeks of unpaid compassionate care leave. This leave can be taken within 52 weeks to care for a family member. To qualify for this leave, the employee must prove that their family member has a serious medical condition where a certificate has been issued by a qualified medical practitioner with a serious risk of death with 26 weeks.  

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 a sickness- related absence and request sick leave. It should also state the processes for taking certain leaves, such as Sick/Family Responsibility Leave and Compassionate Care 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 paid sick leave.   

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 LSA. Call Employer Line today at 1-709-383-1883.