In his final offer to CUPE as published in the TJ last week, Premier Higgs offered a percentage wage increase to be tied to a reduction of two days in the contractual allowance for sick time. Employee absenteeism in the health care system is not just a problem; it is a costly part of what is wrong with what has been described as an ailing health system in New Brunswick. The total cost of absenteeism across the health and long term care system in New Brunswick would be in the $100’s of millions annually if calculated properly.
The sick time allowance in any collective agreement or institutional personnel policies, contrary to widespread myths, is that it serves as an insurance plan designed to ensure that employees cash flow is protected when they are seriously so they can remain at home, or hospital, without fear of losing pay. In the private sector, many employers provide little to no similar benefit but good employers will take steps to protect their employees. A small business operator recently told me that she pays for 2 sick days per annum. Others pay less, others pay more generously as an employee retention tool. Read more here
Ken McGeorge, BS,DHA,CHE is a career health care executive based in Fredericton, NB, Canada.