Doctors call in sick on notes

Doctor’s notes a drain on health-care system but how else can employers combat absenteeism?
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/25/2014

Looking to lower absenteeism rates, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) negotiated a new policy around sick days in a 2011 collective agreement. Instead of requiring a doctor’s note after five non-consecutive sick days, the TTC now requires a note, within 72 hours of the absence, after just one sick day.

Since then, absenteeism rates have dropped to around 7.5 per cent from 8.5 per cent, while the non-unionized side is around three or four per cent, according to Brad Ross, executive director of corporate communications at the TTC.

“We felt that a five-day, non-medical-note sick day provision benefit was being used by some as vacation, to be perfectly frank,” he said.