New Ontario legislation ensures workers can take at least 10 sick days a year without a doctor’s note

Posted on June 8, 2017 in Policy Context – News/Queen’s Park – “This becomes one less thing to worry about when you’re not feeling well,” said Health Minister Eric Hoskins at a news conference at Women’s College Hospital.
June 8, 2017.   By

Bosses will be banned from asking employees for sick notes if they take 10 or fewer days a year under proposed legislation that would take effect next January 1.

The measure — part of the workplace reform law Premier Kathleen Wynne’s administration has put forward — means fewer wasted appointments for doctors and allows workers to stay home and get well instead of spreading their germs around, Health Minister Eric Hoskins said Thursday.

“This becomes one less thing to worry about when you’re not feeling well,” Hoskins, a family physician, told a news conference at Women’s College Hospital.

Labour Minister Kevin Flynn, who is shepherding the labour reforms that include a $15 minimum wage by 2019, said the law will ensure all workers are entitled to at least 10 personal emergency leave days annually — two of which must be paid.

Reasons for personal emergency leave can include illness or taking care of sick family members along with domestic or sexual violence or the threat of it.

Flynn said “most employers” no longer require sick notes, but the ban will force others in line with more modern employment practices.

Dr. Ruth Heisey, chief of family medicine at Women’s College, applauded the move, saying it makes “good common sense” from a public health perspective.

People will be more likely to take sick days and not drag themselves into work where they could infect colleagues, leading to more absenteeism on the job, and doctors can concentrate on patients who need medical care instead of a note.

Hoskins said some patients were required to pay for doctor’s notes because they are not covered under provincial health insurance.

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