Untangling the Web: Sorting out administration and accommodation issues in sick leave, LTD, STD, and Workers Compensation claims

Income protection for employees who are unable to work due to illness or disability is a crucial issue in collective bargaining. Unions seek to safeguard employees’ income security from unexpected interruptions caused by sickness, while employers are concerned to enhance the efficiency and contain the costs of such income replacement programs. Difficult questions of contract interpretation arise about eligibility and entitlement, particularly where a third-party insurer or administrative service provider is involved. In this webinar, a panel of experts will provide guidance on a number of key issues, taking into consideration recent decisions of arbitrators and the courts.

1. What is the relationship between negotiated entitlements under a collective agreement and statutory entitlements under employment standards legislation, e.g. paid sick leave or emergency leave days? Can employees’ sick leave entitlements under a collective agreement be offset against comparable entitlements under legislation?
2. When an employee is on an extended medical leave of absence, such as workers’ compensation or long-term disability, is the employer permitted to pro-rate benefits under collective agreements that are based on service, i.e. vacation or holiday pay? Does the pro-rating of benefits in such circumstances constitute prohibited discrimination?
3. In what circumstances will the employer be obligated to pay negotiated sickness or disability benefits where a third-party insurance company or administrative services provider has denied the claim?
4. To what extent can employees be required to provide personal medical information when applying, for sick leave, short-term, or long-term disability benefits? When is a request for additional, more detailed information justified? What medical information can properly be required in support of a request for a workplace accommodation?
5. When will eligibility requirements, e.g. qualifying days, for sickness or disability benefits be held to discriminate on the basis of disability or other prohibited grounds?
6. Can an employee who is found to be “totally disabled” from performing work in any occupation, in accordance with an insured plan, be dismissed for non-culpable absenteeism? When will a subsisting entitlement to benefits preclude dismissal for non-culpable absenteeism?