Health and Safety Advice – How to Manage Sick Leave in the Workplace

  • Sickness & Leave
How to Manage Sick Leave in the Workplace
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

Sick Leave Management 101

Managing sick leave or other personal leaves of absence in the workplace is important for the growth of your business and for maintaining a strong organizational culture. As an employer, it is important to understand what rights your employees have and how to find a balance for a sick leave policy that fits with your workplace culture. Think about how you can manage employee absence in relation to employee job satisfaction and morale. Get to know the laws around personal emergency leave and from there, have a policy in place that best reflects your business practices.

Did you know? The law does not require employers to pay for sick days

The Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) sets out the terms and conditions for employee sick leave under the definition for personal emergency leave. This provides employees with the right to take up to 10 days of job-protected leave for illness, injury, and certain other emergencies or urgent matters every calendar year, where the first two days are a paid leave of absence. Personal Emergency Leave applies to any staff who have been employed for at least one week, whether they are employed as full-time or part-time.

5 HR best practices to prepare an effective sick leave policy

Having a sick leave policy in place is key to effective absence management. You can set these expectations in your employment agreement or employee handbook. To prepare an effective sick leave policy, here are five HR best practices:

  1. Review the Employment Standards Act to ensure you meet the minimum requirements of current laws
  2. Be transparent about time off and if pay is provided during sickness absence
  3. Outline arrangements and procedures for recording absence
  4. Determine the procedure for short-term and long-term disability
  5. Include information on support and assistance for those who are off and returning to work

Remember, labour laws change. It’s in your best interest to keep up-to-date to ensure your policies and procedures are relevant and effective.


Do you have questions about sick leave management? Peninsula is dedicated to supporting small business owners with employer advice and HR advice. Call our free 24-hour helpline – 1 (833) 247-3652 You can also read more on our Employer Blog about Paid Emergency Leave (Sick Leave) for Employers in Ontario.

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