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Sick days....what are your rights?

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  • Dec 17th, 2011 7:43 pm
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[OP]
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Dec 1, 2003
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Montreal

Sick days....what are your rights?

I have a question about the laws in Ontario regarding calling in sick to work. It is regarding my wife, and what we feel is harassment regarding sick days from upper management. My wife is a flight attendant for a major carrier in Canada. THey are unionized. Here's the scoop:

My wife just got a letter sent via Fedex overnight from her employer, for booking off sick on the following dates:

October 14-16
November 12-14

THey say that her Doctor's note is not valid because the note itself was written by the Doctor on Oct-25 (for the sick days in october), and the one for the November baseness was written on Nov-18 (for the sick days in November). This is because it was a few days AFTER her sick days that her employer requested her to get the note for her sick days. So, the days she was sick she didn't go see the Doctor because she didn't need to. In other words, if you have menstrual cramps or stomach problems, you don't go see the Doctor for simple things. If you feel sick, you feel sick. You only go to the Doctor to get checked up for more serious illnesses, but if it's the the point that you're not feeling well to the point that it's preventing you from doing your work properly that day, then you call in sick. Simple as that.

The other problem here is that on the dates above she didn't book off from Oct 14-16, she only booked off from Oct 15-16. She called in on the night of the 14th to call in sick for her shift the next day which was less than 12 hours away, so that they had time to find a replacement. Same thing with the November book off. She wasn't absent from Nov 12-14, she was only away from work on the 13-14, but called in the night before late on the 12th. So, they're making it sound like she missed work for 3 days on each of those occasions, when really she missed work for TWO days on each of those occasions.

The other issue is that my wife has over 20 sick days that she is ALLOWED to take. Why on earth are they requiring doctor's notes, if she is using the sick days she is entitled to? Second, why are they saying the medical notes are invalid because they weren't written on the day she was sick, when my wife was only informed a few days AFTER her sick days that she was going to need a medical note for her sick days. It seems like BS to me. My understanding regarding labour laws in Ontario is that your employer is only allowed to ask you for a doctor's note if you are sick for MORE than 2 days. In other words, 3 or more days of being sick.

Please correct me if Im wrong here...
26 replies
Sr. Member
Jul 27, 2006
678 posts
3 upvotes
A unionized employee should consult with their union about these things, that's the point of the union.
Deal Fanatic
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Sep 14, 2006
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I would clear up the actual days she was sick and then take it from there. If she's sick for 2 consecutive days, then correct them first and maybe from that, it won't be as big a deal as 3 consecutive sick days.
TEAM CANADA!!!!!!!!!!!
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Jun 20, 2010
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-right to remain silent

-right to party
Deal Addict
Mar 24, 2005
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I have a friend who is an FA and major carriers are always a pain in the ass to deal with. The problem is, there are a good number of bad apples who abuse the system while at the same time, management are all idiots with the airlines. They employ scare tactics a lot because they think you're abusing the system and/or calling in sick when you're not.

What has always happened though is that you get your union rep involved and the matter will clear up. But it will be noted on your record of this "incident", although legitimate.

That's just the kind of crap you have to put up with when working for major airlines.
Deal Expert
May 17, 2008
15134 posts
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What are they threatening to do? Not pay her for the days or further discipline?

The union is your friend in this one.
Deal Expert
Oct 20, 2001
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najibs wrote:
Dec 14th, 2011 10:26 pm
My understanding regarding labour laws in Ontario is that your employer is only allowed to ask you for a doctor's note if you are sick for MORE than 2 days. In other words, 3 or more days of being sick.
I don't think there's anything in the labour laws about exemption of doctor's note for 1 or 2 sick days. Some companies may follow that rule (maybe even this airline?), but it's not a legal requirement.

http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/ ... l.php#note
http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/ ... rgency.php

Deal with it through the union, as it was mentioned. Hopefully they'll understand that it was a misunderstanding.
These folks have taken over RFD, so I'm done here.

Mutu qabla an tamutu
Deal Addict
Dec 14, 2008
1009 posts
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I think Ac can ask for a doctors note at any time..Does she have 20 days let in her sick bank? Or does she use 20days every year?

BTW Sick time at AC is hugely abused...
[OP]
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Dec 1, 2003
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BornRuff wrote:
Dec 15th, 2011 12:01 am
What are they threatening to do? Not pay her for the days or further discipline?

The union is your friend in this one.

THey basically said that those days that were initially counted as 'sick days' are now being treated as 'unavailable for duty' which looks bad on your record.

But thanks everyone...she'll take it to the union and have them deal with it.
Deal Addict
Mar 10, 2011
1824 posts
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Toronto
With 20 sick days available it's obviously open to abuse. In non-union work places, you usually get 5 days per year and most people take between 1-3 days and don't get asked for doctor notes. Sounds like some serious abuses have occurred and unfortunately your wife's legitimate illnesses are now caught up in wide scale crackdown on everybody.
Deal Addict
May 19, 2004
1507 posts
116 upvotes
Edmonton
i dont know about FA and what illnesses your wife has but if someone at my job called in sick the night before AND for 2 days in a row AND for 2 months in a row i would ask for doctors note too from now on. just because someone has sick days remaining doesn't mean they take them all (and right before year end too).
Deal Addict
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Jan 27, 2007
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Your wife should be consulting her collective agreement to determine her rights. The CA will most likely over-ride the ESA, as the ESA is a minimum only.

Don't want to sound like a dick, but the statement you made about her "entitlement" to sick days goes a long way to explain why a thread was made about the topic. Many union brothers and sisters view sick days as a negotiated benefit, it is, but ONLY IF ONE IS SICK. The employer is just exercising it's right to manage sick time as they see fit.

I always thought the whole Dr.'s note was odd - how can a Dr. say you were sick after the fact, unless you went to him during the time you were off.

Anyway - what's your wife's history with taking time off? Does she always use the max? Does she always take off a Monday or Friday. Many employers track and look for abusers. In some cases though the questions are just part of a general crackdown. That's probably what this is. No use in getting bent out of shape about it, just provide the information the employer wants and life goes on.
Sr. Member
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Dec 7, 2004
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dutchca wrote:
Dec 15th, 2011 7:57 pm
Your wife should be consulting her collective agreement to determine her rights. The CA will most likely over-ride the ESA, as the ESA is a minimum only.

Don't want to sound like a dick, but the statement you made about her "entitlement" to sick days goes a long way to explain why a thread was made about the topic. Many union brothers and sisters view sick days as a negotiated benefit, it is, but ONLY IF ONE IS SICK. The employer is just exercising it's right to manage sick time as they see fit.

I always thought the whole Dr.'s note was odd - how can a Dr. say you were sick after the fact, unless you went to him during the time you were off.

Anyway - what's your wife's history with taking time off? Does she always use the max? Does she always take off a Monday or Friday. Many employers track and look for abusers. In some cases though the questions are just part of a general crackdown. That's probably what this is. No use in getting bent out of shape about it, just provide the information the employer wants and life goes on.

I concur. You are not ENTITLED to 20 days just because...20 days ONLY if you are SICK.

Gotta love unions (rolling eyes).

Might be a date mix up in terms of two or three days. Just sort it out.

And if you want to know why management is all over those, it's because of all of the bad apples that have made life difficult for all of the good ones.
Deal Expert
May 17, 2008
15134 posts
152 upvotes
5abi wrote:
Dec 15th, 2011 7:53 pm
i dont know about FA and what illnesses your wife has but if someone at my job called in sick the night before AND for 2 days in a row AND for 2 months in a row i would ask for doctors note too from now on. just because someone has sick days remaining doesn't mean they take them all (and right before year end too).

If it is menstrual cramps like he alludes to, then it is not all that hard to see why there is a pattern........

Either way, she did get a doctors note both times.
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