Employment Law

Employees Forced to Work When Sick: 770 CHQR Interviews Jon Pinkus

Interview Summary

As summer comes to an end, many have raised concerns about the cold and flu season ahead and health and safety in the workplace.

Do non-unionized employees have the right to remain at home when they are ill? Has the pandemic permanently changed employers’ obligations to sick workers? What can employees do if urged to return to work regardless of their health?

Jon Pinkus, an employment lawyer and Partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, joined Shaye Ganam on 630 CHED and CHQR Calgary to answer these questions and more.

Interview Notes

  • Employee rights when sick: Employees who feel unwell and believe they are unable to work should speak to their doctors and provide a note to their employers. Generally, ill employees should remain at home until they are able to safely return to work.
  • Employer policies in the workplace: It is beneficial for employers to have a clear policy in place regarding sick employees, though it is not a legal requirement. Clear policies lead to fewer disputes and increased company morale from staff.
  • Refusing unsafe work: Employees who feel unsafe working with an ill colleague should first speak to their employer about their concerns. A health and safety inspection can be conducted if there is no resolution to the complaints.
  • Calling in sick when working remotely: Employees are still able to take sick days if working remotely or in a hybrid work arrangement. Employees are able to take a sick day if unwell and unable to perform the duties and responsibilities of their job.

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