September 24, 2021

Experience working during the pandemic, which has seen broad acceptance of remote work as well as increased awareness of the dangers of employees coming to work sick, poses a challenge to traditional attendance management policies in unionized workplaces. In this webinar, experts will review established law and practice around attendance management policies and will explore if, and how, these policies must change. Issues to be addressed include:

  • What are the established rules regarding attendance management policies? What do recent decisions say? Do they reaffirm existing law or modify it?
  • What allowances, if any, do attendance management programs make for emergency leaves?
  • How sick is too sick to work at all? Should attendance management plans be expanded to permit more absences to ensure that sick employees don’t attend work, especially in workplaces where virtual work is not an option? That is, should workplace health and safety play a greater role now in defining the terms of attendance management policies? Does the precautionary principle — the requirement that employers must take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker — weigh in favour of more sick leave/permitting more absences?
  • What allowances do attendance management policies typically make for family obligations? How should they change, given growing awareness, due to the pandemic, of the need to care for sick family members? How should they change in workplaces where remote work is an option or where family responsibilities arise throughout the day?
  • Are surveillance measures permissible/necessary to manage attendance in remote work environments? What surveillance practices, if any, have arbitrators approved or disapproved in the context of working from home?
  • Should attendance management continue to be a concern in the hybrid workplace, or should performance, rather than attendance, be the focus?