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E a s t e r n   U p d a t e - Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Medical Certificates Article

17.02 of the Collective Agreement, “Proof of Illness”, references when a teacher may be requested to provide a medical certificate. It states, “At the request of the Board, all absences reported due to illness or dental conditions shall be certified by a physician or by a licensed dental surgeon after a period of three (3) consecutive working days.”

In practice, the Board usually requests that teachers provide a medical certificate if they are absent for five days or longer. This may entail another visit to the doctor to have the certificate filled in. The Board is in agreement with teachers using the Board’s medical certificate on first visit to the doctor, when it is anticipated that the teacher will be off for five days or longer. This would prevent the need for a subsequent visit to have the certificate completed. The Board has agreed to pay the fees that may be charged by the doctor for this service. This medical form can be found posted on our Unit website, www.easternoecta.ca

This medical certificate was negotiated between the Board and OECTA. It gives the employer only the information that they are legally entitled to. Specifically, the employer is entitled to the general nature of an illness, not a medical diagnosis. This is because medical information is protected under privacy of information laws.

$300 PD Funds

So far, only 370 of approximately 900 eligible permanent teachers have applied for the PD Funds available to them for a variety of professional development opportunities and resources. This money, if not used by the end of this school year, will no longer be available to individual teachers, and will revert to the Joint Board-OECTA PD Committee, to be used, at their discretion, for teacher PD opportunities. Of the teachers who have applied, the majority of teachers have used this money towards the purchase of educational equipment such as laptops and iPads, or to offset the costs of conferences or AQ’s. Principals should have the application forms available to teachers. They are also found on our Unit website. Part-time permanent teachers are entitled to a pro-rated amount, according to their F.T.E. .

Maintaining L.T.D. Coverage during an Unpaid Leave

Sometimes, when a teacher is on an unpaid leave of absence, they may question whether or not to maintain their Long Term Disability coverage during their leave of absence. When on an unpaid leave, the teacher must pay 100% of the premium costs, which amounts to a lot of money. (Only when a teacher is on a statutory leave, such as pregnancy and parental leave, does the Board continue paying is portion of the benefit premium.) However, not maintaining L.T.D. coverage does come with risks. Attached is a pamphlet developed by our L.T.D. carrier, O.T.I.P., which outlines the considerations when making this decision.

Dec. 6th- National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Monday, December 6th is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It coincides with the anniversary of tragic killing of 14 young women at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. The OECTA Status of Women Committee has developed a resource that can be used in schools in order to participate in and commemorate this day. It is attached.

Can Sick Leave Be Used to Care for Ill Family Members?

With the Board’s introduction of an Employee Attendance “Support” Program there have been no changes in terms of practice with respect to this question. For example, sometimes, if you have been up all night with a sick child, you are in no shape to go to work the next day. It is perfectly all right to call in sick in instances such as this.

Stressed? Depressed? - Use “Feeling Better Now”

As part of our OTIP long term disability plan, at no cost and with total anonymity, teachers can access a website designed to help you assess the state of your (or your family member’s) mental and emotional health. The questionnaire you fill out on-line can then give you a printable Diagnostic Risk Assessment and Care Map to take to your family doctor. Also provided are tools that you can use on your own. Approved by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, check out www.feelingbetternow.com/otip .

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