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News   April 26, 2018   by Danielle Oswald

Employers planning for more medical leaves

Over the past few years mental health awareness is becoming more acknowledged by society, and Canadian employers are taking notice by planning an increase in employee medical leaves.  

A recent survey taken by the Conference Board of Canada finds that 63 per cent of employers are currently offering stay-at-work programs to assist employees experiencing mental health challenges or chronic illness. 

Some of the main health conditions employers believe are the most likely to cause increases in medical leaves include: mental health issue (42 per cent), cancer (15 per cent), or a musculoskeletal issue or injury (13 per cent). Because of this, Canadian employers are making programs that can help employees that are dealing with these health challenges while allowing them not to worry about the possibility of losing their jobs. The stay-at-work programs allow for flexible work hours or modified duties (95 per cent of employers), the offer of a different job (62 per cent), or telework (59 per cent). 

Employers are also creating return-to-work programs for people who are unable to work during their leave. A total of 87 per cent of Canadian employers have these programs in place that allow employees to return to work while they recover. 

In Canadian workplaces 68 per cent of employers have a formal strategy and 86 per cent have a written policy outlining the steps employees and supervisors should take if an employee requires time off work for a health issue, according to a survey by The Conference Board of Canada.  

“Preventing illness and injury and promoting employee well-being are of critical importance to employers, but not all illness and injury can be prevented,” said Allison Cowan, director, total rewards and workplace health research at The Conference Board of Canada. “A large majority of Canadian employers recognize that absence and disability management programming is part of an effective overall organizational health management strategy.” 

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