When You’re Sick
Full time faculty are covered by the Short-Term Disability Plan (Article 17). If your illness extends beyond 130 days, you may qualify for coverage under the Long-Term Disability Plan (see below).
For full-time employees whose illness or disability does not require full sick leave—but rather an adjustment of their work conditions or a temporary reduction in their workload—a permanent or temporary accommodation should be arranged, allowing them to continue such work as is possible.
Partial-load employees’ sick leave and benefits differ somewhat from those of full-time members, and are covered in Article 26 and Appendix V of the Collective Agreement.
Short Term Disability (STD)
From your first day of service at the College, you are covered by the STD plan, in a benefit year extending from September 1 to August 31. Each September, twenty (20) days are added to your sick-leave bank. If you are absent from the College because of illness or injury, you’ll receive full pay up to the number of days accumulated in your bank. Full pay includes any co-ordinator’s allowance and/or scheduled overtime. The employer covers the cost of this plan.
If you are injured and receiving payments under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (formerly Workers’ Compensation), you can use your sick leave to “top up” payments to full salary. If your “regular pay” includes, for example, a coordinator’s step, that amount should be included in the calculation.
If you are still ill once your “sick days” are used up, you shall be paid 75% of your “regular pay” for the period between the date your STD eligibility ends and the date at which you would normally qualify for LTD. If your “regular pay” includes, for example, a coordinator’s step, that amount should be included in the calculation. If the qualifying period for LTD expires while you still have STD sick-leave credits, you may elect to use up these credits before claiming your LTD benefits.
The college requires medical evidence to support your claim for STD if your absence from work is for five, or more days, however they may require supporting medical evidence for periods of less than five days. You may wish to speak with a Union officer about the amount and nature of information your doctor should provide.
Long-Term Disability Plan (LTD)
After 130 calendar days of illness and disability, you may be eligible to receive LTD. Sun Life, our health insurance provider, bases its decision on an assessment of the individual’s ability to continue work. To maximize your chances for eligibility for LTD, please consult with a union officer. Your application for LTD benefits should be filed well in advance of the 130-day mark; Sun Life normally requires two (2) months to process the claim.
Generally, LTD payments are 60% of your “basic monthly earnings” and are untaxed. “Extras”, such as coordinators allowances, are not included in the calculation. The “take-home” value of these benefits is about 95% of regular pay.
To qualify for LTD, you need to be declared “totally disabled” from performing your current job. This means that you cannot perform the majority of the duties associated with your job.
After two years on LTD, you need to be declared “totally disabled” with regard to performing any occupation. Possible exceptions to this policy are individuals who suffer from periodic flare-ups, as might occur with chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis or ulcerative colitis. Such individuals may be granted LTD, where required, during these periods, even though they may eventually be able to return to work during periods of remission.
Should you be denied coverage under the LTD plan, you should appeal the decision through Sun Life’s appeal process. You should also appeal through the Joint Insurance Committee (JIC). However, before appealing, please contact us for advice on other means to reverse the decision. Often, it is simply a matter of providing more thorough/exact medical feedback on your condition.
The LTD plan is fully funded by the members through payroll deductions.
At certain points during their illness, members may feel capable of continuing to work or returning to work if the college makes some short-term or long-term adjustments to their work conditions. The college is obligated to provide reasonable accommodation to the temporarily or partially disabled employee.
You should begin the process by first discussing your circumstances with your medical practitioner. Return to Work accommodations are arranged and monitored through the Return to Work Committee and require medical documentation. This process is strictly confidential.
Sometimes, employees choose to combine sick-leave and pay in a pro-rated fashion that reflects their partial return to work. This combination of sick-leave days and pay means that your salary will remain at 100%. This is often a good way to ease one’s way back into the workforce after an extended sick leave.
We encourage you to contact your executive to learn more about your sick-leave options and how accommodation is negotiated with the college.
The Joint Insurance Committee (JIC)
The Joint Insurance Committee meets monthly with the College of Compensation and Appointments Council to review contentious claims and make recommendations.
The JIC was negotiated into the Collective Agreement because the parties agreed that a joint committee was the best way to assist members who have benefits claims disputes that cannot be resolved through other processes. The JIC also provides oversight for the insurance plan and advocates for plan improvements in between rounds of collective bargaining.
One of the important functions of this committee is to review the unresolved claims of members. If you feel that your claim for medical reimbursement, LTD, or some other benefit has been unjustly refused, please contact us at the Union office. We can help you submit your benefit claims dispute to the JIC.
Union members on the committee are:
Local 125 Lambton
Local 240 Mohawk
Local 562 Humber
Frank Turco Co Chair
Local 613 Sault
(800)269-7376 or (416)443-8888 x5564
Your Local 558 officers can answer your questions about various aspects of our insurance plan and advise you on matters, such as applying for LTD or appealing denials of your claims for medical, dental or other benefits. If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact us.