Human Resources Policies
Attendance Management Program (Local 416 Employees)

Category: Absence From Work

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Policy Statement

Every employee of the City of Toronto has an obligation to perform with regularity the functions for which they were hired. It is the policy of the City of Toronto to manage employee absenteeism in a fair and consistent manner with the following objectives:

  • To maximize service delivery to the public.
  • To assist employees in minimizing absences from work by making every reasonable effort to provide accommodation, assistance and rehabilitation.

To make this program effective, the City is committed to:

  • promoting a healthy workplace, and
  • providing guidance and training to management staff who are responsible for dealing with attendance issues.

Application

This program applies to all employees except for probationary employees.

Applicable Legislation

Both the Human Rights Code and Workplace Safety & Insurance Act have applicability to attendance management. Both statutes address the inter-related issues of absenteeism, disability and accommodation.

The Human Rights Code defines handicap as “…any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness…”. However, not all absences due to illness or sickness fall within the definition of handicap. For example, it is generally held that “illness” in the context of the Code does not apply to illnesses of a temporary nature, such as colds or the flu.

The Code’s definition of handicap also includes an illness or disability for which benefits are claimed or received under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. Section 41 of this Act defines re-employment obligations that apply to injured workers.


Definitions

Innocent or Non-Culpable Absenteeism: Absence from work due to illness, or non-occupational injury, including absences that may be a result of a disability other than a compensable illness or injury. These absences are subject to Attendance Review.

Culpable or Blameworthy Absenteeism: Absence from work due to factors within the employee’s control. Culpable absenteeism includes failure to notify, absences without leave and abuse of leave. Culpable or blameworthy absenteeism problems may be grounds for discipline, up to and including termination.

Approved Absences: Absence from work to which an employee is entitled by law or in accordance with the terms of the Collective Agreement, or which may be granted subject to management approval. Such approved absences include absences in accordance with the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act, vacation, bereavement leave, jury/witness service, pregnancy leave, parental leave, ill dependant days, legal strike, lay-off and such other absences as management may determine.


Conditions

The City of Toronto determined the average number of occasions of absence (day/shift or part thereof) for each division in 2001. These standards will continue to be the standard used for attendance review.

In determining the average for the purpose of the attendance management policy, the following absences should be included:

  • ill with pay
  • ill without pay
  • Accident no credit ( WSIB denials )
  • Ill, no deduction ( employee leaves workplace due to illness; no deduction from sick bank )
  • Vacation used for sick time

The average absenteeism should be defined in terms of the number of days or shifts for the division for one year. Employees whose attendance pattern shows that their total absences were greater than the standard for the division, will have their attendance reviewed.


Procedure

It is the responsibility of all divisions and managers to ensure the consistent application of the Attendance Management Program Policy. In conducting the Attendance Review, the manager should first determine whether the absences are defined as “Innocent or Non-Culpable”, or “Culpable or Blameworthy” or “Approved” and the applicability of disciplinary and non-disciplinary measures.

When an employee fails to comply with reporting or timekeeping rules, his/her manager will meet with the employee to determine the reasons.

When the Manager determines there was a satisfactory reason for the failure to comply, the behaviour is deemed non-culpable.

When manager determines that the reasons are unsatisfactory, the behaviour is deemed culpable, the manager will deal with the situation as a disciplinary matter.


Management of Innocent Absenteeism (Local 416 employees- October 28, 2011)

The immediate supervisor is responsible for attendance management. Through the maintenance of accurate records and regular monitoring, the supervisor addresses absenteeism issues at an early stage. Supervisor responsibilities include:

  • Regular communication with employee
  • Maintenance of records
  • Assistance in return to work

The intent of the Program/Policy is not to require employees to come to work when, due to illness or injury, they are unable to do so, and employees should not feel pressured to do so.

Union Representation

Whenever an employee is requested to report for a meeting with a supervisor under this Program/Policy, at the informal stage or any formal stage, such employee shall be advised of his/her right to a steward or Union representative, as appointed/selected by the Union under the applicable collective agreement to be present at such meeting. The Union shall ensure that where such representation is not provided within the twenty-four (24) hours, the employee shall be advised of his/her right to the presence of an employee of his/her choice who is on duty at his/her place of work at the time the discussion takes place. To be clear, such meetings are not intended as disciplinary discussions.

INFORMAL MEETING

If at any point during a 12 month period an employee is absent due to illness on a number of occasions which is greater than the applicable divisional standard, an informal interview will be conducted by the supervisor. The purpose of the meeting is to:

  • Identify concerns with attendance
  • Explain the impact of absences on the work operation
  • Identify expectations for improvement
  • Identify resources for assistance

Employees with Disabilities

When an employee’s absence(s) are caused by an illness or injury falling within the definition of disability set out in the Human Rights Code, this Program/Policy does not apply. Supervisors should consult with the appropriate resources (Employee Health and Rehabilitation, Health and Safety Disability Management, Employee Assistance Program). Whenever the Program/Policy does not apply to an employee’s absence(s) for that reason, the supervisor will document same to file and advise the employee. To be clear, regardless of the stage at which such determination is made, any meeting or any further meetings (as the case may be) under this Program/Policy, will not be held, nor will letters set out in the Program/Policy be sent.

Special Circumstances

If the supervisor, at this informal stage or at any formal meeting/letter stage (below), judges that the employee’s absence(s) is/are due to special circumstances, the supervisor will document the reasons to file and advise the employee. To be clear, regardless of the stage at which such determination is made, any meeting or any further meetings (as the case may be) under this Program/Policy involving the absence(s) arising out of the special circumstances, will not be held, nor will letters set out in the Program/Policy be sent (such absences being exempted under this Program/Policy).

The exemption due to special circumstances is allowed when, due to an extended absence resulting from a single clearly identifiable cause, substantiated to the satisfaction of the City, acting reasonably, and where there is a previous record of acceptable attendance. The exemption is to be determined by the supervisor and approved by the Division head.

FORMAL MEETING 1 / LETTER 1

If during the next 6 month period or less following the informal meeting, the employee is absent due to illness on a number of occasions, which is greater than the applicable divisional standard for that period, the first formal meeting is held and letter #1 is sent. The purpose of the meeting is to:

  • Identify concerns with attendance and verify attendance record
  • Explain the impact of absences on the work operation
  • Identify expectations for satisfactory improvement
  • Provide an opportunity to discuss reasons for absenteeism
  • Identify resources for assistance ( suggested referral to Employee Health and Rehabilitation, Employee Assistance Program)
  • Identify specific course(s) of action

FORMAL MEETING 2 / LETTER 2

If during the next 6 month period or less following formal meeting #1, the employee is absent due to illness on a number of occasions which is greater than the applicable divisional standard for that period, the second formal meeting is held and letter #2 is sent. The purpose of the meeting is to:

  • Identify concerns with attendance and verify attendance record.
  • Opportunity to discuss reasons for absenteeism
  • Identify resources for assistance (suggested referral to Employee Health and Rehabilitation, Employee Assistance Program)
  • Identify expectations for satisfactory improvement
  • Identify specific course(s) of action and possible consequences; attendance is on record and could lead to transfer, demotion, denial of promotion

FORMAL MEETING 3 / LETTER 3

If during the next 6 month period or less following the formal meeting #2, the employee is absent due to illness on a number of occasions which is greater than the applicable divisional standard for that period, the third formal meeting is held and letter #3 is sent. The purpose of the meeting is to:

  • Identify concerns with attendance and verify attendance record
  • Opportunity to discuss reasons for absenteeism
  • Formal referral to Employee Health and Rehabilitation, Employee Assistance Program
  • Identify expectations for satisfactory improvement
  • Identify specific course(s) of action and possible consequences: attendance is on record and could lead to transfer, demotion, denial of promotion
  • Identify other options which may be pursued if there is no satisfactory improvement including termination

FORMAL MEETING 4 / LETTER 4

If during the next 6 month period or less, following formal meeting #3, the employee is absent due to illness on a number of occasions which is greater than the applicable divisional standard for that period, the fourth formal meeting will be held and letter #4 is sent. Prior to meeting with the employee the supervisor must consult with Labour Relations and/or Legal to review the case and options.

The purpose of the meeting is to re-state again all the points from meetings 1, 2 and 3 clearly state expectations and consequences including termination.

IMPROVED ATTENDANCE

If there is an improvement in attendance followed by a return to attendance below the applicable divisional standard, the formal process is reintroduced as follows:

Improved Attendance for:

More than 6 months to 18 months: if there has been a sustained improvement in attendance for six (6) months or more, but less than eighteen (18) months, and the employee is absent on a number of occasions which is greater than the applicable divisional standard, the review returns to the stage he/she was at when the period of sustained improvement commenced. That formal meeting is repeated and a letter is sent. Example: an employee received letter #3 and then improved attendance (below division standard) for 12 months. This is followed by absenteeism that is greater than the divisional standard. This employee would have meeting #3 repeated and receive letter #3 again.

More than 18 months to 2 years: if there has been a sustained improvement in attendance for eighteen (18) months or more, but less than two (2) years, and the employee is absent on a number of occasions which is greater than the applicable divisional standard, the review begins at a stage in the process which is one (1) stage earlier than the stage he/she was at when the period of sustained improvement commenced, but in no event shall the review begin at a stage earlier than the first formal interview. Example: an employee received letter #3 and then improved attendance (below division standard) for 20 months. This is followed by absenteeism that is greater than the divisional standard. This employee would have meeting #2 repeated and receive letter #2 again.

2 Years: if there has been a sustained improvement in attendance for a period of two (2) years which meets the applicable divisional standard, the formal review process is closed and the employee is given a letter recognizing that they have met the divisional standard. After the two (2) year period, if the attendance falls below the standard, the review begins with the informal meeting.


Attendance Review Record

See also the confidential attendance review record template.


Approved by

City Council

Date Approved

February 15, 2012

Attachments

AMP Sample letter 1.doc (43 Kbytes)
AMP Sample letter 2.doc (48 Kbytes)
AMP Sample letter 3.doc (43 Kbytes)
AMP Sample letter 4.doc (42 Kbytes)
416 AMP Sample letter 1 FINAL-s.pdf (95 Kbytes)
416 AMP Sample letter 2 FINAL-s.pdf (99 Kbytes)
416 AMP Sample letter 3 FINAL-s.pdf (115 Kbytes)
416 AMP Sample letter 4 FINAL-s.pdf (91 Kbytes)

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