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Sick Days, the Short-Term Sickness Plan, and Attendance Credits (OPS)

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Contents

Introduction

Eligibility

Regular employees

Fixed term employees

The Short-Term Sickness Plan

Absences continuing past December 31

Absences longer than 130 days

Attendance credits

If you are away for seven consecutive calendar days or longer on STSP

When your Employer can ask for medical information or documentation

If you are away on STSP for seven consecutive calendar days

If you are frequently off sick from work

If your Employer suspects you are abusing STSP

If you have a previously established disability (e.g., a permanent, congenital, or long-term disability)

What should be on your medical documentation

If your Employer requests an independent medical examination

If you have questions or need assistance


Introduction

If you are a regular employee and unable to attend work because of sickness or injury, the Short-Term Sickness Plan (STSP) in the Ontario Public Service provides you with income protection for the first 130 of those days in each calendar year.

The program is defined in Article 37 of your Collective Agreement. Protections such as the STSP are an important advantage of being a unionized professional.


Eligibility

Regular employees

  • Full-time employees are eligible for STSP.
  • Part-time employees are eligible for STSP on a pro-rated basis.

Fixed-term employees

  • Fixed-term employees are not eligible for STSP but are entitled to attendance credits.


The Short-Term Sickness Plan

Assuming you meet the eligibility requirements, you will receive 130 STSP sick days starting on January 1 each year:

  • the first six working days of your absence are at 100% of your salary; and
  • the remaining 124 working days of your absence are at 75% of your salary.

New full-time employees will receive your annual allotment of STSP days after you have worked 20 consecutively scheduled working days.

You have the option of using other accumulated credits (such as vacation) to make up the 25% difference in your pay while you are off on STSP.

While on STSP, your health benefits coverage and pension contributions will be maintained as though you were still at work. All deductions and contributions will be made as though you were receiving your regular salary.

Absences continuing past December 31

If you started a sick leave in one calendar year and are unable to return to work until after the start of the next calendar year:

  • you will continue to use any remaining STSP days from the previous year until they have been exhausted (as needed); and
  • you will receive your new annual allotment of STSP days after you have worked 20 consecutively scheduled working days.

If you return to work on a temporarily reduced schedule (less than full hours or days per week) due to an accommodation measure or return to work plan, you will receive your new annual allotment after 20 consecutively scheduled working days on your modified schedule.

Absences longer than 130 days

If your absence is longer than 130 days, and you successfully apply for Long-Term Income Protection (LTIP), you will start to receive LTIP benefits six months after your first day of absence from work, unless your STSP credits have not yet been exhausted, in which case LTIP benefits will begin once your STSP credits are exhausted.


Attendance credits

Full-time fixed-term employees will accumulate 1 ¼ attendance credits (days) for each full month that you are at work (or while you are on vacation or on bereavement or jury/witness leave). If you are part-time, this will be pro-rated.

You can use these accumulated attendance credits as paid sick days.

If you are absent for seven consecutive calendar days due to sickness or injury, your Employer will not allow you to take any more leave with pay unless you submit documentation from a legally qualified medical practitioner to your manager.

There is no maximum to the number of credits you can accumulate. If you are appointed to a permanent AMAPCEO position, your credits will be forfeited and instead, you will be eligible for STSP.


Enterprise Attendance Threshold

If you are absent from work (for longer than) the “Enterprise Attendance Threshold” due to sickness or injury, your supervisor or another Employer representative will:

  • review information related to your absences and determine next steps; and
  • follow the OPS Employee Attendance Support Program (EASP).

The threshold can vary from year to year.

If your supervisor or another Employer representative asks to meet with you to discuss your attendance or a disability accommodation, please seek the assistance of an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative right away. You have the right for a Workplace Representative to accompany and represent you at this meeting in accordance with Article 7.1 of your Collective Agreement.

While the OPS EASP does not automatically exclude disability-related absences for the purposes of attendance monitoring, the EASP must still be applied in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code. This means that if you have a disability, you must be supported and accommodated short of undue hardship where required under your Employer’s Disability Accommodation Policy.


When your Employer can ask for medical information or documentation

Except for extremely limited circumstances, you or your medical practitioner are not required to provide your Employer with the diagnosis of your sickness or injury that led to your absence.

Your Employer is permitted to ask for details on a medical condition as it relates to carrying out your job duties, along with information on any work limitations or restrictions which may apply when you return to work.

If you are away for more than seven consecutive calendar days:

  • your Employer may request documentation from a legally qualified medical practitioner; and

  • during an extended sick leave, your Employer may request periodic certificates from medical practitioners, including a prognosis on when you can return to work and any work limitations or restrictions which may apply when you do.

If you are frequently off sick from work:

If your Employer suspects you are abusing STSP:

  • they may request medical documentation from a legally qualified medical practitioner, even if your absence is shorter than seven consecutive calendar days, at their expense. If this is the case please seek the assistance of an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative.

If you have a previously established disability (e.g., a permanent, congenital, or long-term disability):

  • your Employer should not be routinely requesting medical documentation to respect your dignity.

What should be on your medical documentation

It is often helpful for your medical documentation to contain the following:

  • the name, address, telephone number, and signature of your medical practitioner;
  • the date you were assessed;
  • confirmation that you were unable to perform your duties at work due to an injury or illness for the specified period of absence; and
  • the start date of your absence, and:
    • the end date of your absence; or
    • the expected date of your return to work; or
    • the date when you will be reassessed.

If your Employer requests an independent medical examination

If you are frequently sick from work, your Employer may require you to undergo an independent medical examination (IME).

Before requesting an IME, your Employer should have already received medical documentation from your medical practitioner.

Your Employer cannot unilaterally select an IME provider for you, unless you do not do so yourself.

If your Employer requests an IME, please seek the assistance of an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative.


If you have questions or need assistance

Please contact an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative in your District. They do not have to be in your Ministry.

Workplace Representatives are trained union members who have volunteered to confidentially assist members like you in the workplace. They should be your first point of contact in seeking information and representation with an issue at work.

Your Workplace Representative may ask you to use the union’s secure web-based system, RADAR, to provide details about your situation. RADAR will help you and your Workplace Representative keep track of things without the privacy concerns that could come from using the Employer’s email system.

Fact Sheet

Bargaining Unit: Ontario Public Service (OPS)

Collective Agreement Article: 37

First Published: August 10, 2020

Last Updated: September 29, 2021

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