Human Resources Policies
Attendance Management Program (Non-union employees)
This policy addresses the management of innocent or non-culpable absenteeism.

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 policy 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. (See Procedure, Management of Innocent Absenteeism).

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

Each department will determine the average number of occasions of absence (day/shift or part there of) for each division. These will be the initial standards used for attendance review. A departmental average may be used where differences among divisions are insignificant.

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 (ex. WSIB denials)
  • Ill, no deduction (employee leaves workplace due to illness; no deduction from sick bank)

The average absenteeism should be defined in terms of the number of days or shifts for the division/department for one year.

Employees whose attendance pattern shows that their total absences were greater than the standard for the division/department, will have their attendance reviewed.


Procedure

It is the responsibility of all departments 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 the 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

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

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

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 divisional/departmental average, 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

NOTE: For cases requiring special accommodation, supervisors should consult with the appropriate resources (Employee Health and Rehabilitation, HR business unit, Employee Assistance Program). List of resources attached.

If the supervisor feels there are special circumstances such that a meeting is not required, the supervisor will document the reasons to file.


Formal Meeting 1 / Letter 1

If during the next 6 month period or less the employee is absent due to illness on a number of occasions which is greater than the divisional/departmental average 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
  • 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 of action

Formal Meeting 2 / Letter 2

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

  • Identify attendance is unacceptable
  • 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 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 the employee is absent due to illness on a number of occasions which is greater than the divisional/departmental average for that period, the third formal meeting is held and letter #3 is sent. The purpose of the meeting is to:

  • Identify unacceptable attendance is on record
  • Opportunity to discuss reasons for absenteeism
  • Formal referral to Employee Health and Rehabilitation and Employee Assistance Program
  • Identify expectations for satisfactory improvement
  • Identify specific course 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 the employee is absent due to illness on a number of occasions which is greater than the divisional/departmental average for that period, the fourth formal meeting will be held and letter #4 is sent. Prior to meeting with the employee the manager must consult with Labour Relations/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 poor attendance, the formal process is reintroduced. If there is a sustained improvement in attendance for a period of two years which meets divisional standards, the review process is closed and the employee is given a letter recognizing that they have met the divisional standard. After the two-year period, if attendance falls below the standard, the review begins with the informal meeting.


Approved by

City Council, July 24, 2001

Date Approved

May 3, 2001

Attendance Review Record

See also the confidential attendance review record template.

Attachments

sample_letters.pdf (19 Kbytes)

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