Chair – Tom O’Brien
Members – Jared Melvin, Donna Murray
Our union is a support network. When someone goes on sick leave for an extended time it can feel alienating and may be hard to feel supported by your peers. The LTD Committee is determined to support our members in their time of need. We are here to help if you need information and may not feel comfortable getting it from the employer. Or perhaps you have an issue with how your leave is being handled either by the employer or the insurance company.
For the first 60 days of sick leave the employer is still paying you, but they require a doctor's note so they know you are unable to work and for how long. After about 30 days you will need to think about the application process for Long Term Disability, which starts after 60 days if approved by the insurance company, BC Life. Since the application and approval process can take time it is worth starting early if you aren't sure you will be able to return to work. The employer will probably send you forms after 30 days on short term sick leave.
One issue we are currently dealing with is how frequently the employer can request doctor's notes within that first 60 days. On one hand they need to know when you are able to return to work. On the other hand it can be cumbersome and cost money to keep providing notes, especially if a doctor recommended return date has already been provided in writing. There needs to be some reasonableness applied to make this a fair process for our members.
BCA is currently checking out a few new things in regards to LTD. One is having a third party company called Acclaim who assists in getting information to the employer from an employee on leave. This is in cases where the employer isn't feeling like the information is consistent or may not be enough information for short term leave. The employer is also looking at if they are legally able to have someone on a return to work who cannot fulfill their job's full duties paid at a lower rate equal to the job description that more closely matches what they are able to do.
Both of these tactics are being closely monitored and reviewed by our union.
As always, look after yourselves, and each other.
Our LTD Committee chair is Tom O'Brien and can be contacted at: email@example.com.