The unauthorized failure to attend for work in a regular and reliable fashion is a breach of an employee’s workplace obligation. Yet, the appropriate employer response is not always straightforward.
We know from experience early intervention with employees absent from work has proven rewards to business operations. We also know, given recent and impending changes to the workplace safety and insurance legislation, there can be significant cost opportunities available to employers who successfully manage attendance. Yet, absenteeism issues have become increasingly complex due to the interaction of factors such as disability, religion, and a range of other human rights both actual and alleged.
Our team regularly assists employers design, implement and administer absenteeism control programs to reduce:
- Culpable absenteeism (i.e., an absence without an acceptable excuse), and
- Non-culpable absenteeism (i.e., an absence with an acceptable excuse).
We advocate and support our clients in the development and implementation of an integrated absence management system which encourages early intervention with absent employees. Implemented consistently and transparently, an integrated absence management system maximizes the early return to work of employees wherever possible while at the same time respects the health and welfare of the employee.
Where an employee’s health may be at issue the employer often has insufficient medical information on which to base an informed decision. We therefore assist clients to proactively:
- Implement strategies to elicit medical evidence that is objective, relevant and useful
- Design and implement drug and alcohol testing as permitted by law
- Understand the legal implications of medical information received
- Design strategies to effectively manage short and long-term disability insurance claims
- Co-ordinate with insurance carriers to ensure their rights are protected
- Design and implement strategies to improve an early Return to Work
- Ensure absent employees participate in Return to Work programs
(see also Human Rights and Accommodation, and Workplace Safety and Insurance)