Chronic sick days could lead to termination

Program gives City of London employees three years to improve attendance

A new program could see City of London, Ont., employees fired after three years of chronic absences.

A new absence management program, implemented this month, will automatically notify managers when employees have had more than six sick days in either half of the calendar year.

Under the program, managers will work with employees with serious illnesses or disabilities, but others, while offered help, will be told to find ways to fall at or below the six-day threshold.

If employees can't decrease their sick days to the six-day cut-off, they will face escalating meetings every six months, which could lead to termination after three years.

While the City's manager of rewards and recognition Gary Bridge said the program is meant to be a supportive mechanism to improve employee attendance, the union for inside workers has filed grievances.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees believes the program may be a violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code. A union spokesperson said employers can't terminate employees for being sick.

Last year the City of London had an absenteeism rate double that of the national average, according to the London Free Press.

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