Employers shouldn't demand sick notes, OMA says
The Ontario Medical Association is calling on employers in the province to end the practice of asking for a doctor’s note when employees stay home sick.
Published Wednesday, January 8, 2014 10:16AM EST
With the flu season is full swing, the Ontario Medical Association is calling on employers in the province to end the practice of asking for a doctor’s note when employees stay home sick.
The OMA says sick notes require a trip to the doctor's office where germs can easily spread.
"Employers should encourage workers to stay home when sick -- not require sick notes which has a discouraging effect and forces patients into the doctor’s office when they are sick," Dr. Scott Wooder, president of the OMA, said in a statement released Tuesday.
"Most cold and flu viruses are spread because people touch surfaces and then touch their faces, other objects and other people," he said.
Wooder said heading to a doctor's office or walk-in clinic for a doctor's note only encourages the spread of germs to others in the waiting room who could be more susceptible to the flu and are at a greater risk of suffering complications.
Wooder also pointed out that doctors can't police workplace absenteeism.
On Tuesday he tweeted: "Ontario's health system does not have the resources to act as industry's Truant Officer."
The OMA said some simple steps – such as coughing and sneezing into your sleeve, using hand sanitizer and washing your hands frequently – can help prevent the flu, along with getting the flu shot.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, flu cases continue to increase sharply.
The latest data shows a spike in hospitalizations among influenza patients as 2013 came to a close.