Deciphering the sick note

What an employer can reasonably expect from a physician
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/16/2006

With the rising costs of absences, employers are looking for better ways to manage employee sick time. A critical part of any disability or absence management program is good communication between the employer and the treating physician.

However, employers and physicians approach the same issue from different perspectives. The employer wants to get the employee back to work as quickly as possible, with accommodations as needed, while the physician’s only concern is the health of the patient.

According to employment lawyer Stuart Rudner, a partner at Miller Thomson LLP in Toronto, the information an employer can get from a physician is limited by privacy rights. To ensure employers get the right information, they need to know which questions to ask.