Member Resources

Missing a Lot of Work Lately? Absenteeism Can be Risky Business…

People need time away from work due to illness, to enjoy family vacations, to care for loved ones who need them, and for a number of other reasons.  Thanks to our collective agreements with the Government of Canada, members are able to accumulate and take different types of leave. While it is important to be aware of your various leave entitlements, it is equally important to remember that there are rules that must be respected when requesting and taking your leave. If these are not followed, you could find yourself in a discipline situation or worse.

Consult your Collective Agreement– it is your guide to finding out more about your leave entitlements and restrictions.

Did you know that your employment could be terminated for missing too much work? Termination for excessive absenteeism is legitimate and recognized under the law –regardless of whether it is your fault (culpable) or whether it is due to circumstances beyond your control (non-culpable or innocent).

In a very general sense, culpable absenteeism means “blameworthy” absenteeism, or absenteeism that was within the workers’ ability to control. Examples of this could be things like taking time off to do personal errands, go shopping, go fishin’, being late because you can’t get up on time and things of that order. It can also mean falsifying sick claims or calling in sick when you’re really…gone fishin’ or otherwise not sick.

Non-culpable or innocent absenteeism is absenteeism that is not within the workers’ control. Illness and injury are the most common examples of this kind of absenteeism.

While discipline can be, and often is, imposed for culpable absenteeism, things are not quite so simple for the non-culpable variety.  Although each case is different, the employer may have the authority to replace an employee where the employee is unable to work for reasons that are not his or her fault but are outside of his or her control, such as permanent disability.

Members need to know that it is the Employer’s right to terminate an employee for medical incapacity after a specific period of time and if the employee is deemed unlikely to return to work in the foreseeable future.  In all cases of termination for medical incapacity, the employee is offered a medical retirement which only Heath Canada can approve.

Related Links:

Managing your Leave

Missing work to avoid workplace conflict or stress? Talk to someone before you reach your breaking point. Local 70713 offers Union Counselling to our members.

Have more questions? Ask Your Local


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