Thank you to my reader who asked questions regarding the confusing world of Attendance Management programs. These programs are tricky to navigate because of Human Rights concerns so employers need to use caution when using discipline for absences.
1. Mandated Leaves of Absence – If your workers use the Leave provisions from the Employment Standards Act, these absences cannot be subject to disciplinary action. There is a limited exception with regard to Personal Emergency Leave in that the absent employee must be able to provide “proof that is reasonable in the circumstances” to show entitlement to the leave. Failure to provide this “proof” could be subject to discipline, but only if the worker shows a demonstrated pattern of absences or has other performance issues that would genuinely lead management to conclude there is culpable absenteeism.
2. Quarterly or Annual Attendance Reviews – Not the same as Performance Reviews, although they can be done at the same time. If your company has employees who experience higher than average days off, those persons may be counselled or placed on an Attendance Management program where the worker and the employer monitor the absences and find solutions to minimize the impact of those absences. If your workers are not experiencing high rates of absence and/or they are only using mandated leaves, they should not be part of the attendance management program.
3. How long do you keep records on absences? If you have a worker that is on an Attendance Management program or who has received some type of formal discipline for improper absence, the employer should keep those records on file but only use them as support for future infractions within a calendar year, at most.
For help navigating your Attendance Management program, give us a call!
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