OMA says your boss shouldn't ask for a sick note

Sick notes encourage unnecessary visits to the doctor's office

Ontario Medical Association President Dr. Scott Wooder doesn't think your boss should ask for a note if you are forced to stay home sick.

In a statement posted to the OMA website this week, Wooder urged employers not to to require doctor's notes for employees that are ill.

"(Requiring notes) has a discouraging effect and forces patients into the doctor’s office when they are sick, which only encourages the spread of germs to those in the waiting room, who in some cases are more vulnerable," said Wooder.

Those that are more vulnerable to illness include people with chronic diseases, seniors, and children.

Most employees that spoke to Newstalk 1010 Thursday morning agree that doctor's notes for relatively minor illnesses are a waste of time, but there may be value in requiring employees to prove and extended illness.

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  1. Frankie posted on 01/09/2014 10:03 AM
    With new public sector contracts they should only allow 80% of the equivalent private sector sick days to reduce the abuse. Public sector workers don't have any of the work stress of private sector so they shouldn't be getting sick as frequently.

    They can't be fired, they work at a snail's pace so that our civil service is bloated, etc. so their workplace stress is eliminated therefore they'd get sick less frequently.
  2. Angry Bill posted on 01/09/2014 10:03 AM
    The problem, and we all know what it is, is people who abuse sick days. I mean, if person "A" at the office takes a sick day, the coworkers and even the boss knows that person well enough to figure out if it's legit. Now, another coworker at that same office sees that the one person got a day off for being sick, so calls in "sick" the next day.. The coworkers and the boss know this person, too.. and know he or she is the type who abuses sick days. However, what can you do? The rules say you gotta give everyone the benefit of the doubt, regardless if you know they're lying about being sick or not.

    And that's the problem with sweeping rules like this that are either applied to everyone, or no one. Some people abuse it, some don't.

    Look at teachers.. they are held by some to be pillars of our community, entrusted with our child's education. However, they have a union.. and that union has got them entitled to a certain number of paid sick days. These lofty pillars of society have proven that they are not above a sense of entitlement to these sick days. They are CONVINCED that if they do not take them, they lose money. Because, they're entitled to them, they think they need to take them.

    Using that logic, you burn your house down simply because you have house insurance, and you're entitled to the insurance money if your house burns down.

    Teachers and other unionized groups of people don't get the above logic.

    Which brings us back to the original topic.. What the heck else are employers supposed to do to combat the theft of their money by employees playing hookie? Because it costs employers money. On the other hand, if you are the type of person who sees nothing wrong with slacking off and staying home just because you feel like it, you probably aren't a terribly productive employee anyway, and so the employer wouldn't actually be losing that much money from you.
    1. SCOTT posted on 01/09/2014 10:21 AM
      @Angry Bill It's a little more most union employees can no longer bank sick days and cash them out at retirement, they have to use them in the current year. It's a benefit and they'd be losing time and money if they didn't take advantage of them. If you need to blame anyone, blame the employer negotiators who signed these collective agreements.

      To your second point, taking these sick days is no different than employees surfing the web on their employers time and using their corporate computers to post notes on twitter, facebook, and other forums.

      Most employers now monitor employee voice mail and web use, large companies have a threshold of non-work related use, after that, the employees are called in to explain. Porn sites have a much lower threshold.
    2. Mark7 posted on 01/09/2014 10:50 AM
      @SCOTT Regardless if one can bank the sick days or not is no excuse to use them if not required. IT IS THAT SIMPLE.
    3. Walter posted on 01/09/2014 12:35 PM
      @Angry Bill Doctors should not give notes.

      We should trust employees that they will take sick days only when they are sick.

      But at the same time, we must trust employers with more power to fire a worker who is not performing for whatever reason (either attendance or productivity).

      Trust would become a two way street.
    4. Karl Burgin posted on 01/09/2014 01:26 PM
      @Angry Bill I think you're right on this- but the problem is that it's applied with a broad stroke.
      More specifically, we all know that its (most likely) public sector/unionized workers who abuse the system. Such as usually taking Monday or Friday off to either extend their weekends or long public holidays. This isn't necessarily the case in private sector jobs.

      If anything, remove this requirement of having a sick note from private sector non-unionized jobs- and only apply it to public sector/unionized workers- especially if the employer recognizes a trend in when sick days are being taken. That should work best.

      Because, what you now have when you apply this requirement across the board, is that people now force themselves to go to work, just to avoid the hassle of having to go to the doctor's office to get a note. Because usually the case is that either you have to find a way to book an appointment, or find a clinic where you can walk in (and hope to God they're not busy so you're not waiting for hours), go get a sick note after you get better, or risk getting in trouble by not getting one at all. If a person is sick, any of the above scenarios is already too much of a bother. I know this first hand, because my wife would rather elect to go to work when she is sick, rather than go through the trouble of getting a note via the aforementioned scenarios.
  3. john posted on 01/09/2014 10:41 AM
    now this is stupid the only people who are in the waiting room . ARE sick . that why thay are there in the first place . sounds to me like people are losing commonsense.
  4. Ernie posted on 01/09/2014 06:08 PM
    Instead of doctors notes, employers should be allowed to send the company nurse to your home to figure out what kind of medical help you need! My company used to do it - absenteeism was nearly zero !
    1. Karl Burgin posted on 01/10/2014 09:21 AM
      @Ernie Unfortunately most work places don't have that.
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