A happy employee is generally a healthy employee, but there are often times when employees fall ill or are injured and require time away from the office as a result. When this happens, the majority can count on their workplace’s sick or disability leave policies to support them.
The findings of a Conference Board of Canada report indicate that 33 per cent of workers aged 18 to 24 have access to paid sick days and short-term coverage for disabilities as part of their contracts. However, 26 per cent have coverage for long-term illness or injury. Employees aged 65 and over also have paid sick days, but only 41 per cent of those surveyed have coverage for long-term disabilities.
“Both young people and seniors are more likely to have casual, contract or part-time jobs that can be less secure and offer fewer benefits,” says Karla Thorpe, director of leadership and human resources research at the Conference Board. “As we enter a period of tight labour markets, employers will need to think about how to best engage these two segments of workers to ensure they remain healthy and productive at work.”
Mental health is also a poignant issue in the workplace, and feedback from respondents indicates that some employers do not provide adequate coverage for mental illnesses. According to the survey results, 61 per cent of employers provide more support for physical health, while 53 per cent adequately address mental issues.
Furthermore, 52 per cent of respondents believed that their workplace’s physical health support was helpful to them, while 40 per cent said their workplace provided proper support for mental health.
As mental health becomes a more of a hot-button matter in offices across the country, HR managers may be forced to modify their leave programs to include clauses that will provide their employees with an equal amount of coverage for both short- and long-term physical and mental health issues.