Home|Audio Conferences|Sickness and Disability Leave

Sickness and Disability Leave: Accommodating employees, preventing abuse, facilitating return to work

Thursday, June 18, 2020, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

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Noella Martin

Employer Counsel
Wickwire Holm
Christopher Rootham

Union Counsel
Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP


Loretta Bouwmeester

Employer Counsel
Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP
Brendan McCutchen

Union Counsel
Wright Henry LLP


In recent months, issues related to leaves and return to work have gained new prominence as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers and unions have routinely been called upon to handle requests for sick leave or disability leave and to facilitate return to work while respecting employee privacy, preventing abuse, and fulfilling accommodation obligations. In this session, experienced lawyers will provide practical advice to workplace parties on their rights and responsibilities with respect to sick leave, disability leave, and return to work, with a focus on the following topics:

  • What medical information can employers legally require from employees to justify the use of one or two sick days? Are employees entitled to use a sick day as a "mental health day" or to take care of a sick child? If so, can an employer require medical evidence to support the need for such an absence?
  • How does the information required to justify longer absences or entitlement to disability benefits differ from the information required to justify one or two sick days? How have requirements for medical information changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What must employers do to protect employee privacy in the context of sick leave?
  • How can employers prevent abuse of sick leave without violating employees' privacy rights? When, if ever, is it appropriate for an employer to conduct covert surveillance of an employee suspected of sick leave fraud?
  • In what circumstances will arbitrators uphold the discharge of an employee for abusing sick leave?
  • What is the potential liability faced by an employer who unjustly accuses an employee of sick leave or disability benefit fraud?
  • What are the obligations of the employer, the union, and the insurer (if applicable) to an employee who has been absent from work due to illness or disability for an extended period?
  • How should employers and unions communicate with employees on sick leave or disability leave? What are the differences between appropriate contact and harassment?
  • What medical information is needed to facilitate a return to work? What are the key elements of a return-to-work plan, and what provisions should be made for preventing relapse and reviewing accommodation?


CPHR Alberta

CPD hours for this event can be logged online, through your CPHR Alberta member profile.

HRPA Continuing Professional Development

This program has been approved for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours under Section A3 of the Recertification Log of the Human Resources Professionals Association.

HRMA Continuing Professional Development

This audio conference has been pre-approved by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia and Yukon (CPHR BC & YK) for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours. Be sure to note the Event Identification Number in your CPHR Recertification Log.

Lancaster House CPD
  • This audio conference has been approved by the Law Society of British Columbia for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • Members of the Law Society of Saskatchewan should contact their Law Society regarding CPD approval.
  • CPD for Members of the Law Society of Ontario: 1.5 Substantive Hours; 0 Professionalism Hours.
  • This audio conference has been approved by the Law Society of New Brunswick for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.

Additional Information

Valuable, up-to-date materials and case summaries will be available for downloading from our website. Each audio conference is accompanied by a PDF of concise summaries of the cases discussed.

Live Session – $265, plus HST
Live Session for 2 or more (Boardroom fee) – $530, plus HST
Bundle Rate – Purchase a Live Session and receive the companion MP3 Recording for $165, plus HST
MP3 Recording – $265, plus HST
(Registrations must be paid in advance of the audio conference)
Contact us for discount pricing on the entire series.

Audio conference MP3 files are available for $265. Those who have purchased the live audio conference may purchase the corresponding downloadable audio MP3 file for the discounted price of $165.

The recorded MP3 file and materials are available for download one business day after the live audio conference. After purchasing, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access and download the audio conference MP3 file and materials by visiting My Account and selecting Order History. For audio file purchases for upcoming audio conferences, once the MP3 file is available through our site, registrants will receive an update e-mail informing them that the links are now ready.

When you register, you'll be given a toll-free number to dial at the time of the session and an access code to join the call. For additional program and registration information, call Lancaster House at (416) 977-6618.

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