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Health Management - Leave & Disability - Calling in sick

Human Resources


Health Management

Calling in sick

Leave & disability

If an employee calls in sick

If an employee is not at work for a scheduled shift, they should have contacted their supervisor to let them know prior to the start of their shift. Operational areas may have specific protocols for how to do this. Supervisors need to be sure all employees know what the expectations are and how to notify the workplace or the supervisor of their absence.

Most of the time, your employee is simply not feeling well and needs time to rest and recover. If that is the case and the absence seems reasonable, make sure your employee knows you are there to support them and gather the following information.

The Initial Contact Checklist provides steps to prepare for your initial conversation.
Initial Contact Form
Initial Contact Guidelines

Things to gather

  1. Get any information you might need to cover their workload. You might have to reschedule meetings, cover duties or adjust timelines.
  2. Find out how long your employee thinks they might being away. Sometimes, knowing how long an illness or injury will last isn’t possible. You are really just trying to get a general idea if your employee thinks they will be back the next day, in a couple of days or longer term. If they anticipate being away for more than five consecutive days they should apply for sickness and accident benefits as soon as possible to avoid any disruption in pay.
  3. Get the general reason for the absence. You don’t need specifics of an illness or injury, but you do need to know if that is the reason for the absence or it is because of other reasons. If your employee shares with you that their absence is not for health reasons, such as a sick child, then discuss the alternate leave options they have (such as lieu time, rearranged work schedule, vacation, flexible work options). If your employee offers details beyond what is necessary to know for work purposes, remind them it is not necessary to share confidential medical information.

Keep in touch with your employee while they are away to show support or gather any additional information you need, but remember to use discretion. When and how often you contact an absent employee can depend on how long they will be away. Give them reasonable time to rest and recover.

If your employee is absent, but didn’t contact you

If your employee hasn’t been in contact and didn’t show up to work, try to contact them as soon as possible (ideally within the first 24 hours). If you don’t reach the employee directly, leave a message explaining why you are calling and a reasonable time you expect a call back. There are circumstances such as accidents, medical emergencies or family crisis that might prevent the employee from contacting you immediately. Be sensitive when you make this first call, but make sure your employee knows that you are concerned. If your employee doesn’t respond to your message, contact your Human Resources Advisor. They can help decide if formal action needs to be taken and what that action might be.

Reasons for absences

Non work-related illness or injury

When the supervisor and employee discuss the absence, the employee should provide an idea of how long they might be away from work. For absences that are shorter than five consecutive days, employee does not need to provide an Attending Physician Statement. For payroll purposes, the code for this time S03.

If the absence exceeds five consecutive working days, the employee needs to provide an Attending Physician Statement (APS). Instructions to submit the APS is outlined here.

For firefighters S & A benefits begin after four consecutive working days of a platoon schedule.

Absences due to workplace injury

If the employee is absent because of a workplace injury, it needs to be reported to WCB within 72 hours. Supervisors and employees should follow the claim process of the Worker’s Compensation Board. For questions about the WCB process contact WCB Administration.

An injured employee should report the incident to their supervisor immediately and get medical attention if needed. For quick service, they can visit an Occupational Injury Service (OIS) clinic, which will get employees who have been injured while working in to see a doctor quickly. Other services such as x-rays, MRI’s, and surgical consultations may also be expedited by seeing the OIS clinic.

For payroll purposes, the code for this time K31.

Absences due to reasons other than accident or illness

If the absence is because of family-related or non-medical reasons, an employee is not eligible for S&A.

Those employees still need a leave status when they take time off work. An employee might have to use vacation, lieu time or an unpaid leave of absence in order to deal with missed work days. HR Support Services can assist with figuring out the correct pay codes for the absence.

If you think the absence is suspicious

Who can help?

Human Resources

Employee Benefits Booklet
Firefighters Benefits Information

Homewood Health

Direct Tel: 403-705-2024
Toll Free: 1-800-472-4904
Fax: 1-866-460-4645

Worker’s Compensation Board


Next: Applying for S & A benefits