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  • Writer's pictureSarah Scahill

Managing Employee Medical Leave


Managing employee medical leave is an important aspect of running a successful business. When an employee is absent from work, it can have a negative impact on productivity and overall well-being. Even though medical leaves are a legitimate reason to be absent from work, it cannot be ignored that these leaves have an impact on the organization. Many employers struggle with balancing compassion toward the employee and efficiently managing the needs of the organization. In this blog post, we will discuss why it is important to manage employee medical leave and how it can benefit your organization and your employees.

  1. Reducing Absenteeism: When employees are absent from work for medical leave, it can create a ripple effect on the rest of the team. It can cause other employees to take on additional work, which can lead to burnout and reduced productivity. Offering modified work solutions can assist in reducing absenteeism while still supporting the employee on their journey to improved wellbeing. If modified work is not an option, sufficient management of medical leave provides employers the information they require to effectively manage their workforce, including timelines for additional staffing or creating plans to address inequity in job duties. Managing employee medical leave can help reduce absenteeism and ensure that workloads are evenly distributed.

  2. Protecting Employee Health: Allowing employees to access medical leave when they need it is crucial for protecting their health. It helps prevent the spread of illness and ensures that employees have the time they need to recover. This can also help prevent the risk of workplace injuries or accidents that can occur when employees are not feeling their best. Ensuring you have a dedicated person or department in your organization to oversee employee medical leaves will streamline the leave process and foster valuable relationships with employees.

  3. Improving Company Culture: Managing medical leave can help create a positive company culture. When employees feel that their health and well-being are valued, it can boost morale and create a more positive work environment. This can lead to higher job satisfaction and lower turnover rates.

  4. Ensuring Business Continuity: Managing medical leave can help ensure business continuity. High levels of casual sick leave or any extended medical leave can disrupt the workflow and cause delays in projects or interruptions to service delivery. Managing these leaves can help ensure that business operations continue to run smoothly and high quality service is delivered..

  5. Complying with Employment Laws: Many employers have Collective Agreements, employment contracts, or even legislative acts which stipulate provisions for employees to access medical leave. Additionally, labour law may require an employer to provide employees with time off work for personal or family reasons; this varies from province to province. In Alberta, any employee who has been employed with their employer for 90 days or more is entitled to access unpaid leave up to five (5) days per calendar year for purposes necessary to their health or the health of a family member. Knowing your Collective Agreements, employment contracts, legislative acts, or labour laws are important steps to ensure compliance and avoid costly penalties and legal issues.

In conclusion, managing employee medical leave is a critical aspect of running a successful business. It can help reduce absenteeism, protect employee health, improve company culture, ensure business continuity, and ensure compliance with employment laws. By implementing policies and procedures for managing medical leave, you can create a healthier, happier, and more productive workplace. If you need assistance with creating policies, procedures or programs, contact ExecRN for consultation!


Of note, an employer is not required to "accept" every medical leave or accommodation request. Watch for a future blog entry on this topic. If you can't wait - contact ExecRN today.


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