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Welcome to HR Heartbeat, where we give you a rundown of the week's top employment law stories. Stay on the pulse of current trends impacting your business. Plus get up-to-the-minute commentary on all things HR and legal.
So, let's check out this week's headlines..
No more sick notes?
Employers in Nova Scotia now have one more thing to pay attention to as The Medical Certificates for Employee Absence Act came into effect on July 1, 2023.
Provincially regulated employers in this Jurisdiction can no longer ask employees requesting time off for a sick note to prove they’re actually sick, before approving their request.
You can still ask employees for a sick note, but you’ll have to wait for a bit. Their absences must fall under certain conditions. Employees must have been away from work for more than five working days or have already taken two absences of five or fewer working days in the previous 12-month period.
In addition to this, under the new rule, other regulated healthcare professionals besides doctors like nurses, dentists or pharmacists can also issue sick notes, as long as they’ve been providing care to the sick employee.
If you find yourself fretting that employees may misuse this legislation, don’t worry too much! You may still use other means to validate an employee’s sickness claims, like phone calls or emails. Learn more about sick leave abuse and how to reduce excessive sick leave here.
Cool solutions to burning temperatures
If the current weather conditions are any indication, the foggy air and high temperatures will be here for a while. So, as an employer, you must take steps to make sure your employees are staying safe.
It’s not just a nice thing to do, you have a general duty to take all reasonable precautions for the health and safety of your employees under the Occupational Health and Safety legislation.
So it’s important to conduct frequent risk assessments in your workplace to protect your staff from heat disorders or intoxication from poor air quality. Risk assessments help you spot when climate conditions might impact your work environment and when your workers are experiencing extreme heat.
Staff safety is a big responsibility, and it can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t have experience in this area. Thankfully, there are measures you can put in place to modify your work environment and make it more suitable for working in the heat.
These include insulating hot surfaces, reducing the use of heavy machinery, installing air conditioners, increasing the frequency and duration of breaks, or scheduling tasks to cooler times in the day, among others.
It’s also best practice to have a heat stress control plan drafted in consultation with your workplace joint health & safety committee or worker health & safety representative to better manage a challenging working environment.
Wondering what other documents you need to help keep your staff safe during the heat? BrightBase—our library of expert health & safety policies, templates and guides has got you covered.
That's it for today! Come back next week for more HR news so you stay ahead of major employment law changes.