The cost of being sick


opinions_placeholderEverybody has those days where just the thought of going to work makes them sick.

Not literally, but you make it sound real when you phone your boss with the famous “I can’t come in today because I’m sick,” excuse.

On the flip side, there are days you actually are sick but decide to go to work anyways because a doctor’s note
costs money.

In Alberta, no employer actually can force an employee to stay home when ill, even Alberta Health Services—who you would think would be the first place to implement those kinds of rules.

According to the Collective Agreement between Alberta Health Services and Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, “An employee who is unable to report for duty due to illness is required to inform his supervisor or designate, as soon as possible but in any event not less than two hours before he was to report to duty.”

The agreement says nothing about an employee being forced to either not come into work or forced to leave work by their employers if they are in fact, sick.

Well, if you do catch something in the hospital, at least you’re in the perfect place to get treated right away.

In order to be eligible for mandatory sick leave, the employee must work a minimum three consecutive months with the same employer. The employee is then protected for any amount of time not exceeding 17 weeks.

Predominantly, government towns have the highest overall rates of work absenteeism in Canada.

Ron Champlain, a store manager at Dairy Queen said that while he can’t force any of his employees to go home if they are sick, he strongly encourages it.

“Since we are handling food, I always encourage my employees to call in sick if they are feeling unwell,” said Champlain.

“The only problem is, they don’t want to go through the haste of obtaining a doctor’s note and filling out all of the paperwork in the process. It is a pain.”

Champlain said if he sees that any of his employees are sick or showing symptoms, he tries everything he can to convince them to go home.

Most of the time they comply immediately and if they don’t, he positions them in areas where food is not handled.

“I’ll have them go out and clean the lobby, mop floors and stuff.”

“I do certainly think that sick leave should be forced, especially in any industry where there is direct contact with people and/or food,” said Champlain.

It’s pretty ironic how the employee sanitizing everything is also contaminating it at the same time.

Would you like the flu with that sir?  No thanks. I’m in the mood for bronchitis, perhaps I’ll take a swing by the hospital and see what I can catch it there.

Oh, and make sure you acquire one of those lovely doctor’s notes that costs anywhere between $10 to $20, if you want to be compensated for the time you’re spending off throwing up every hour, and coughing so violently that you feel like your lungs may pop out at any moment.

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