Alberta Federation of Labour says requiring doctor’s note a waste of time

EDMONTON -- The Alberta Federation of Labour is calling on the provincial government to do away with the longstanding practice of employers asking employees for a doctor's note to verify absences.

EDMONTON — The Alberta Federation of Labour is calling on the provincial government to do away with the longstanding practice of employers asking employees for a doctor’s note to verify absences.

Officials with the organization, representing a number of unions and employee organizations, call the process a waste of time.

AFL president Gil McGowan says in non-unionized workplaces, many employers are using sick notes as a disincentive for workers to do what they should be doing, which is staying home and getting better.

McGowan adds that the cost of a doctor’s note — which some employees have to pay for themselves — could also dissuade some employees from taking necessary time away from the workplace.

Dr. Rohan Bissoondath of Preventous Health says sick note requests have become a daily occurrence at his clinic.

He says it only takes a few minutes for the medical professionals, but for sick patients it’s often challenging to find time to come in.

“When it comes to coughs, colds, common things that people don’t need to be in front of the doctor for, the best thing for them is that they’re home, they’re out of harm’s way, and they’re not making anybody else sick.”

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business argues that sick notes, even for short-term illness, are valuable for employers.

“Small businesses need to be able to verify that their employees are getting the treatment that they need if they’re sick,” says Amber Ruddy, CFIB’s director of provincial affairs.

Ruddy agrees that the provincial government should review its policies on sick days but for an entirely different reason.

“When you look at the public sector versus the private sector, people in the public sector seem to get sick more often, in fact, five days more per year than someone in the private sector,” Ruddy says.

“In the public sector, people treat it more like an entitlement where they’ve negotiated sick days, they can bank them, they can retire earlier, and that’s simply unfair.”

Statistics Canada shows Albertans took an average of 5.5 sick days in 2015, the lowest provincial percentage in the country. Quebec was highest, with an average of 9.8 sick days.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

EDMONTON — Alberta’s COVID-19-era budget made a hard landing Thursday with an… Continue reading

The expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has been discussed for over a decade. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital expansion gets about $6 million in 2021 provincial budget

According to the government’s three-year plan, the project will get $59 million by 2024.

The Town of Sylvan Lake has launched a new contest to attract a new business. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

Red Deer Rebels forward Josh Tarzwell is hoping to pick up where he left off last season as the 2020-21 WHL season kicks off Friday in Red Deer against the Medicine Hat Tigers. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Rebels set to host Tigers in WHL season opener

24-game WHL Alberta only season kicks off night Friday at the Centrium

Alberta reported an additional 399 cases of COVID-19 Thursday, on 9,217 tests, for a test positivity rate of 4.3 per cent. (Image courtesy CDC)
Red Deer down to 562 active COVID-19 cases

8 new COVID-19 deaths, 399 additional COVID-19 cases

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

‘Black box’ in Woods SUV could yield clues to cause of wreck

‘Black box’ in Woods SUV could yield clues to cause of wreck

Team Saskatchewan skip Sherry Anderson reacts to her shot against Team Quebec at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

FILE - New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist reacts after a save during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers in New York, in this Sunday, March 1, 2020, file photo. The Flyers defeated the Rangers 5-3. Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist will sit out the upcoming NHL season because of a heart condition, announcing the news a little more than two months after joining the Washington Capitals. Lundqvist posted a written statement and a videotaped one on social media Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, saying it was a "pretty tough and emotional day." The 38-year-old from Sweden was bought out by the New York Rangers after 15 seasons and signed a $1.5 million, one-year deal with Washington in October. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa holds up water collected from Neskantaga First Nation, where residents were evacuated over tainted water in October, during a rally at Queen's Park in Toronto on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal's Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Quebec starts COVID-19 vaccination bookings for seniors; those in Ontario must wait

Quebec starts COVID-19 vaccination bookings for seniors; those in Ontario must wait

The corporate logo of Pembina Pipeline Corp. (TSX:PPL) is shown. Calgary-based Pembina Pipeline Corp. says it is "doing what is right for the country and fellow Canadians" by shipping unit trains full to propane to Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Pembina Pipeline posts $1.2 billion loss on petrochemical, LNG project impairments

CALGARY — Pembina Pipeline Corp. is reporting a $1.2 billion net fourth-quarter… Continue reading

Rode
Red Deer College esports league off to a good start

Red Deer College Kings hockey veteran Jacob Wozney has been involved in… Continue reading

Most Read