Sickness in the workplace is an unfortunate reality that every employer must deal with. And the negative effects this has are plain to see, which include a reduction in productivity and increased staff shortages.   Especially through peak periods of the spread of sickness (e.g. flu season), it’s essential that your business takes steps to protect staff.    

While sickness in the workplace is not entirely avoidable, well-developed policies can reduce spread of infection by ensuring sick employees stay home. Having protocols in place also ensure your employees receive their correct sick leave entitlements.    

This should include:      

  • Outlined processes to follow when an employee falls ill.    
  • A sick leave policy.    
  • A commitment to provide employees with their sick day/pay leave entitlements.   

And when granting entitlements, you must act in accordance with Nova Scotia’s Labour Standards Code (LSC) to stay compliant and protect your business.    

Curb sickness in the workplace with proper processes    

As an employer, there are things that you can do and processes that you can put in place to ensure you reduce the spread of sickness in your workplace.    

Such as:   

  • Ask that employees stay home if they are feeling ill.    
  • Share guidance on proper handwashing techniques, and regularly sanitize workstations.     
  • Request that employees report flu-like symptoms to their manager and stay home when sick.    

Entitled sick days and sick leave    

 In Nova Scotia, employees are entitled to three days of unpaid sick leave each year. This leave can be used for medical or dental appointments, or to care for a parent, child, or family member. This leave may be used to care for an ill parent, child, or family member. It can also be used for medical, dental, or other similar appointments for the employee or the employee family member.   

Developing a sick leave policy       

It’s essential you develop a sick leave policy that clearly states your expectations regarding how an employee should report a sickness related absence and request leave.    

Things your policy should cover:    

  • If you require that an employee provide a doctor’s note.    
  • A plan for who will take over the employee’s duties while they are away on sick leave.    
  • How you will respond if concerning absence patterns appear.    
  • Whether you plan to offer a paid sick leave – whether or not this is provided is based on the employer’s discretion – unless already provisioned in the applicable employment standards legislation.    

Need help developing a sick leave policy?    

 If you need help developing a sick leave policy or are at all unclear about sick leave entitlements, Employer Line is here to help. Our experts are on the line to support you through this and ensure compliance with the ESC. Call Employer Line today at 1-902-332-8632.