Every employee of the City of Toronto has an obligation to perform with regularity the functions for which they were hired. It is the policy of the City of Toronto to manage employee absenteeism in a fair and consistent manner with the following objectives:
To make this program effective, the City is committed to:
This policy applies to all employees except for probationary employees.
Both the Human Rights Code and Workplace Safety & Insurance Act have applicability to attendance management. Both statutes address the inter-related issues of absenteeism, disability and accommodation.
The Human Rights Code defines handicap as “…any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness…”. However, not all absences due to illness or sickness fall within the definition of handicap. For example, it is generally held that “illness” in the context of the Code does not apply to illnesses of a temporary nature, such as colds or the flu.
The Code’s definition of handicap also includes an illness or disability for which benefits are claimed or received under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. Section 41 of this Act defines re-employment obligations that apply to injured workers.
Absence from work due to illness, or non-occupational injury, including absences that may be a result of a disability other than a compensable illness or injury. These absences are subject to Attendance Review. (See Procedure, Management of Innocent Absenteeism).
Absence from work due to factors within the employee’s control. Culpable absenteeism includes failure to notify, absences without leave and abuse of leave. Culpable or blameworthy absenteeism problems may be grounds for discipline, up to and including termination.
Absence from work to which an employee is entitled by law or in accordance with the terms of the Collective Agreement or which may be granted subject to management approval. Such approved absences include absences in accordance with the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act, vacation, bereavement leave, jury/witness service, pregnancy leave, parental leave, ill dependant days, legal strike, lay-off and such other absences as management may determine.
Each department will determine the average number of occasions of absence (day/shift or part there of) for each division. These will be the initial standards used for attendance review. A departmental average may be used where differences among divisions are insignificant.
In determining the average for the purpose of the attendance management policy, the following absences should be included:
The average absenteeism should be defined in terms of the number of days or shifts for the division/department for one year.
Employees whose attendance pattern shows that their total absences were greater than the standard for the division/department, will have their attendance reviewed.
It is the responsibility of all departments and managers to ensure the consistent application of the Attendance Management Program Policy. In conducting the Attendance Review, the manager should first determine whether the absences are defined as “Innocent or Non-Culpable”, or “Culpable or Blameworthy” or “Approved” and the applicability of disciplinary and non-disciplinary measures.
When an employee fails to comply with reporting or timekeeping rules, his/her manager will meet with the employee to determine the reasons.
When the manager determines there was a satisfactory reason for the failure to comply, the behaviour is deemed non-culpable.
When the manager determines that the reasons are unsatisfactory, the behaviour is deemed culpable, the manager will deal with the situation as a disciplinary matter.
– Approved by City Council, July 24, 2001
The immediate supervisor is responsible for attendance management. Through the maintenance of accurate records and regular monitoring the supervisor addresses absenteeism issues at an early stage. Supervisor responsibilities include:
The intent of this Program/Policy is not to require employees to come to work when, due to illness or injury, they are unable to do so, and employees should not feel pressured to do so.
Whenever an employee is requested to report for a meeting with a supervisor under this Program/Policy, at the informal stage or any formal stage, such employee shall be advised of his/her right to a steward or Union representative, as appointed/selected by the Union under the applicable collective agreement to be present at such meeting. The Union shall ensure that such representative is available within twenty-four (24) hours of receiving such request. Where such representation is not provided within the twenty-four (24) hours, the employee shall be advised of his/her right to the presence of an employee of his/her choice who is on duty at his/her place of work at the time the discussion takes place. To be clear, such meetings are not intended as disciplinary discussions.
If at any point during a 12 month period an employee is absent due to illness on a number of occasions which is greater than the applicable divisional standard, an informal interview will be conducted by the supervisor. The purpose of the meeting is to:
When an employee’s absence(s) are caused by an illness or injury falling within the definition of disability set out in the Human Rights Code, this Program/Policy does not apply. Supervisors should consult with the appropriate resources (Employee Health and Rehabilitation, Health and Safety Disability Management, Employee Assistance Program). Whenever the Program/Policy does not apply to an employee’s absence(s) for that reason, the supervisor will document same to file and advise the employee. To be clear, regardless of the stage at which such determination is made, any meeting or any further meetings (as the case may be) under this Program/Policy, will not be held, nor will letters set out in the Program/Policy be sent.
If the supervisor, at this informal stage or at any formal meeting/letter stage (below), judges that the employee’s absence(s) is/are due to special circumstances, the supervisor will document the reasons to file and advise the employee. To be clear, regardless of the stage at which such determination is made, any meeting or any further meetings (as the case may be) under this Program/Policy involving the absence(s) arising out of the special circumstances, will not be held, nor will letters set out in the Program/Policy be sent (such absences being exempted under this Program/Policy).
If during the next 6 month period or less the employee is absent due to illness on a number of occasions which is greater than the applicable divisional standard for that period, the first formal meeting is held and letter #1 is sent. The purpose of the meeting is to:
If during the next 6 month period or less the employee is absent due to illness on a number of occasions which is greater than the applicable divisional standard for that period, the second formal meeting is held and letter #2 is sent. The purpose of the meeting is to:
If during the next 6 month period or less the employee is absent due to illness on a number of occasions which is greater than the applicable divisional standard for that period, the third formal meeting is held and letter #3 is sent. The purpose of the meeting is to:
If during the next 6 month period or less the employee is absent due to illness on a number of occasions which is greater than the applicable divisional standard for that period, the fourth formal meeting will be held and letter #4 is sent. Prior to meeting with the employee the manager must consult with Labour Relations/Legal to review the case and options.
The purpose of the meeting is to re-state again all the points from meetings 1, 2 and 3 clearly state expectations and consequences including termination.
If there is an improvement in attendance followed by a return to attendance below the applicable divisional standard, the formal process is reintroduced. If there is a sustained improvement in attendance for a period of two years which meets the applicable divisional standard, the review process is closed and the employee is given a letter recognizing that they have met the divisional standard. After the two-year period, if attendance falls below the standard, the review begins with the informal meeting.
Workforce Strategy Team (WST) and Executive Management Team (EMT)
May 3, 2001
May 26, 2008
See also the confidential attendance review record template.