In one of many steps taken by the Nova Scotia government to reduce the administrative responsibilities of physicians, the government recently passed Bill 256. Schedule B of this legislation curtails an employer’s ability to require a doctor’s note from employees who miss work due to illness. Employers will now only be allowed to ask for a sick note if an employee is absent for more than five days or if the employee has already had two absences of five days or fewer in the previous 12 months. An employer can ask for a sick note if an employee misses work due to illness for a third single day over a one-year period.
This section of the Act comes into effect on July 1, 2023. Most business stakeholders were not notified nor were they consulted on this initiative before the legislation was quickly introduced and passed during the spring session of the legislature. Of the business stakeholders that were consulted, most felt that they could manage under these new rules as in a post-COVID pandemic world, it was becoming increasingly difficult to enforce sick note policies.
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Director, Government Relations (Atlantic)