HR Guideline on Medical/Dental Appointments


Regarding the Medical/Dental Appointments Clarification:

The HR guideline regarding medical and dental appointments has been around for a long time. Medical appointments should be scheduled around work time if possible – but if not – infrequent, or a short period of regular absences can be left to the discretion of the supervisor to deduct from sick bank for up to 2 hours per appointment as before.

The interpretation of the guideline that may not have been enforced until now, occurs when there are repeated absences over a prolonged period of time (not the exceptional absences) or an absence that could reasonably have been booked outside of work time – the supervisor now has the discretion to advise 1) accommodation (adjusting the schedule or work duties performed) for repeated prolonged absences, 2) deduction from an alternate bank ( i.e.vacation) or 3) not pay at all for appointments that could have been done outside of work time.

The supervisor has the discretion to adjust the schedule to accommodate even a single appointment or occasional appointments that fall on work time so that the employee essentially makes up the lost time.

Of course, Supervisor discretion allows for specialist or unavoidable appointments on work time to still be paid as sick time for up to 2 hours per medical appointment or leave.

The problem is our Collective Agreement (CA) does not define what sick time is as is the case in some other Unions because it’s never been an issue for us – at least not for the Union.  Other Union Collective Agreements actually say sick time includes time off for medical appointments –  but ours does not. Our Clause 11.5.9. refers to someone being too sick to work and has to go home or attend a medical appointment.

In the absence of a sick leave definition in our CA, the Employer can defer to the legal definition of sick time being “unable to do normal work duties due to illness or disability” which means if you are capable of working but have to go to an appointment at the start of your shift or presumably to leave work early to go to an appointment at the end of your shift, the Employer is not obligated to pay sick time (an exception would be an HR acknowledged medical related appointment for accommodation or unavoidable or infrequent appointments as mentioned earlier).

It’s hit the Employer’s radar because over the past year so many people have started work late and/or ended work early for medical appointments, or attended appointments in the middle of a shift that a new F/T position could have been funded

Even the Employment Standards Act in BC does not require an Employer to pay sick leave. Only our CA allows us to get paid the strict legal interpretation of sick leave.
In solidarity