In a recent arbitration decision, Arbitrator Riley ruled that it was unfair for the government to withhold sick leave benefits to a person who provided medical notes to the employer confirming an illness.

The grievor provided a medical certificate saying that she would be off work for a month on May 3rd. The government denied her sick leave benefits but did not question the medical certificate until June 1st.

The grievor provided a second medical certificate on June 2nd, indicating that she should be off work until July. Again, the government said the certificate was inadequate, but did not respond until June 16th.

The arbitrator ruled that the grievor was entitled to sick leave benefits from April until her return to work on July 8th because she was too ill to work and was not told to return until July 7th. The arbitrator noted that while the certificates were arguably inadequate, it was unfair and unreasonable for sick leave benefits to be withheld. The employer was ordered to compensate the grievor for the period in question.

What Should You Do?
Observe your doctor’s advice. If you provide a doctor’s note that says you should be off work, you are entitled to sick leave benefits. If the employer requires more information, it is their responsibility to tell you what is needed. While employers are entitled to request this information, there are limits to what must be provided.

If you are in a similar situation or if your employer asks to speak with your doctor directly, please contact your Union representative.