Nip and tuck recovery qualifies for sick pay (Legal view)

Employer claimed elective cosmetic surgery was ‘self-inflicted injury’ and ineligible for benefit, but arbitrator disagreed
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/17/2009

Is going under the knife for a little nip and tuck a self-inflicted injury? An Ontario employer said yes when it denied short-term sick pay benefits to an employee who had voluntary cosmetic surgery and needed two weeks to recover. However, the Ontario Arbitration Board ruled the surgery was for legitimate reasons and shouldn’t be considered a self-inflicted injury.

North Bay General Hospital in North Bay, Ont., provided and funded a short-term sick leave plan under its collective agreement. Under the plan, employees with at least three months’ service who were absent from work because of a “total disability” were eligible for sick pay benefits.

The hospital paid two-thirds of the salary of an employee with less than one year of service, increasing incrementally to a full payment of salary for employees with four years of service, for up to 15 weeks.