If a member needs to take time off work…

November 5, 2017

Working when you are dealing with mental health challenges can be very difficult. It may also lead to other problems at work. If a member is feeling depressed and overwhelmed, for example, they may find themselves not responding at their usual speed, or falling farther behind in their work. Or they may simply be unable to face their regular tasks.

It’s important to let members know what kind of sick leave, short term disability or long term disability benefits they have under their contract if needed.  Depending on your contract or your employer’s policies, it’s also helpful to let them know what kind of doctor’s letter they may need to take this kind of leave…

If you don’t have sick leave or short-term disability and the member needs time off, suggest they apply for Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits. EI sickness benefits will cover a person for up to 15 weeks, if they are temporarily not able to work because of illness, including mental illness. You can find information about applying for EI Sickness Benefits here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness/eligibility.html

Many workers believe they have to tell their employer the specific reason that they are seeking time off work. Workers’ have the right to the privacy of their diagnosis, but you will need to let them know that they need to let the employer know of any limitations they have in returning to work. Two examples would be:

  • 1) they have a lot of fatigue and so need shorter hours temporarily or
  • 2) they have trouble concentrating with a lot of noise and need a quiet place to work temporarily.