The Faculty Association has become aware of instances where the Collective Agreement articles related to “Sick Time” may not have been applied appropriately. This is general information intended to provide an overview of these Articles; however, if academic staff have questions specific to their circumstances that the Employer has not satisfactorily addressed, they are encouraged to contact the Faculty Association.
Collective Agreement, Schedule ‘A,’ Article 2.14.1, “Casual Illness”
This article relates to sick time, where it is anticipated that the academic staff member will be away from their duties for five workdays or less. Permission to take sick time is not required, i.e., sick time is not “approved” by the Department Head (or equivalent), Dean, Staff Wellness, or other Administrators. Academic Staff simply need to inform their Department Head (or equivalent) as soon as possible that they will take this sick time.
Further, academic staff do not need to provide a doctor’s note to take sick time under “Casual Illness.” Also, they do not have to disclose their diagnosis, the nature of their illness, or any other medical information to their Department Head (or equivalent) or other Administrator (unless they choose to do so). Additionally, should an academic staff member’s spouse or child be ill, under Article 126.96.36.199, they may utilize one day of casual illness to make arrangements for the care of the person who is sick (up to three times a year).
Collective Agreement, Schedule ‘A,’ Article 188.8.131.52, “General Illness”
This article relates to sick time greater than five consecutive workdays. Permission to take sick time is not required, i.e., sick time is not “approved” by the Department Head (or equivalent), Dean, Staff Wellness or other Administrator. Again, academic staff simply need to inform their Department Head (or equivalent) as soon as possible that they will take this sick time.
It is the Department Head’s role to inform Human Resources/Staff Wellness, in accordance with U of C policies, of sick time greater than five workdays (i.e., under “General Illness”). The purpose of this procedure is to lessen the burden of multiple reporting requirements on the individual dealing with a medical concern. It is recommended that the academic staff member let their Department Head know the duration of their sick time (if known) or that they continue to be under a doctor’s care (if this is the case).
- During a period of General Illness, academic staff are entitled to 60 workdays at 100% of normal salary and another 70 workdays at 70% of normal salary.
- After this time, academic staff who continue to require sick time would move to long-term disability benefits if they are eligible and qualify.
During a period of “General Illness,” once an academic staff member has been away for four weeks, Staff Wellness generally will reach out to them in writing to request further information about the basis for the leave. Typically Staff Wellness will provide a “Fitness for Work” form that is to be completed by the individual’s physician.
- This form is not mandatory; if the physician would prefer to provide information in a letter, they can do so.
- We recommend that the physician discuss this with the academic staff member and provide them with a copy of the form/letter before submitting it to Staff Wellness directly if that is the academic staff member’s preferred method of communication.
- However, it is not required that the physician provide this directly to Staff Wellness; the physician could provide the form/letter to the academic staff member who would relay this to Staff Wellness.
- Typically, the information provided by the physician would include the length of time they believe the sick time will be required (if known) and that the individual continues to be under their care (if that is the case).
Staff Wellness may have follow-up questions for the individual’s physician, but those should be relayed through the academic staff member unless the academic staff member gives permission to their physician to communicate directly with Staff Wellness (or vice versa). Information on an individual’s medical diagnosis should not be required. However, the physician would provide information on their patient’s medical limitations and possibly the prognosis. We do not advise permitting Staff Wellness to communicate directly with the physician – in our view, the academic staff member should continue to be the intermediary.
When an academic staff member is ready to return to regular duties, they can let their Department Head (or equivalent) know the return-to-work date.
Have more questions or need clarification?
This is general information intended to provide an overview of sick time and related matters. If academic staff have questions specific to their circumstances that have not been satisfactorily addressed by the Employer, they are encouraged to contact the Faculty Association.
As a reminder, all information provided to the Faculty Association is held in the strictest confidence. Without your consent, no information would be conveyed to the Employer (including the Head, Dean, Staff Wellness, or other administrators) or anyone else.