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Attendance Management Policy

Attendance Management Policy Information

Date Approved: June 2022
Effective Date: July 1, 2022
Date Reviewed: Winter 2021
Replaces: Version 2013


The purpose of this policy is to confirm expectations for employee attendance and to confirm roles and responsibilities at the College to help ensure Cambrian College (‘the College’) employees have the tools and supports required to maintain their well-being. Elements of this policy help to ensure balance and fairness for all employees and identify opportunities within attendance expectations to maintain high quality and effective service. Regular attendance and well-being of employees is integral to the delivery of quality programs and to the operations of the College. The Policy aligns with the following goals –

  • To contribute to excellence in service delivery by enhancing employee awareness of attendance expectations and supporting well-being so that they can regularly attend work;
  • To ensure the implementation of strategies and supports by managers/supervisors to minimize absences within their respective areas of responsibility;
  • To approach attendance in a positive and respectful manner, in accordance with the requirements of this policy; and
  • To provide ongoing management support, training, and consultation on attendance matters.

There will be times that employees are unable to attend work due to planned and unplanned absences. The College supports employees in these circumstances by way of vacation, short and long-term benefit plans, personal or emergency leave needs, parental leave, and paid and unpaid absence options, all of which are outlined in the collective agreements and in the terms and conditions of employment.

The College recognizes that regularly scheduled time off for rest and a balance of life and work contributes to the well-being of an employee, helping to ensure a higher level of attendance at work. In addition, the College confirms that frequent explained and unexplained absence from work can result in poor service provision, increased and inequitable workload, lower staff morale, and higher costs.


Absence: refers to the inability to show up, on time and fit for work, for all or part of an employee’s regularly scheduled shift or workday, including reporting in late for work. Absences do not include approved days off or leaves of absences, absences due to work-related injuries, or illness approved by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, as well as all statutorily protected leaves.

Unexplained Absenteeism: refers to absences that are within the employee’s control to communicate with their supervisor in advance, yet they do not. Unexplained absenteeism includes, but is not limited to, unexplained lateness, unexplained leaving early from work, failure to notify an immediate supervisor or appropriate designate of any absence from work, fraudulent use of sick time or other leaves, and failure to explain and/or document absences appropriately. Unexplained Absenteeism is handled through the normal process of communication, and, if necessary progressive discipline and/or the procedures set out in the applicable collective agreement.

Medical Certificate: refers to document(s) supporting an absence issued by a Legally Qualified Medical Practitioner.

Explained Absenteeism: refers to absences which result from an employee’s personal illness or injury that can be communicated and documented. These absences are out of the employee’s control and can be substantiated if required. Explained and documented Absenteeism will be managed in a non-disciplinary manner.

Explained Absenteeism Rate: each employee’s absenteeism rate, for the purposes of this Policy, is calculated by taking into account all explained absences from work, except for absences as a result of a workplace injury for which the employee has received WSIB benefits, if the employee is taking an approved statutory leave. For the purposes of calculating incidents of absenteeism, absences of either part or full shifts will be treated as one incident.

Legally Qualified Medical Practitioner: refers to licensed physicians, licensed midwives, registered nurse practitioners, licensed dentists, and registered psychologists.


All College employees.

This Policy covers, Absences, non-occupational illness and injury, Short Term Disability Plan absences, and unpaid leaves of absences related to non-occupational illness or injury. This Policy does not cover occupational illness or injuries or workplace insurance related absences.

Policy Statements

  1. General
    1. Regular attendance is an expectation of employment while recognizing that from time to time, employees may be absent from work.
    2. The College is committed to promoting a health workplace, informing employees about the intent and proper use of leave, to assuring that employees maintain their work commitments, and helping to ensure operational effectiveness is not jeopardized by absenteeism.
    3. The Attendance Management Program is a non-disciplinary support process that aims to reduce the frequency of absences due to illness or injury.
    4. The College will strive to be consistent and fair in the judgments it makes and the actions it takes to deal with absences while assessing each employee’s circumstances on a case-by-case basis at every phase.
    5. College decisions and processes respecting Explained Absenteeism, disability, and accommodation will be made in accordance with collective agreements, where applicable, the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, and all other applicable legislation.
    6. The College will offer assistance and support whenever possible to assist an employee in resolving issues that may be affecting their ability to attend work regularly.
  2. Reporting
    1. When an employee, for any reason, is not able to attend work as scheduled, that employee has the responsibility to directly inform their immediate supervisor or appropriate designate of their Absence.
    2. Such notification should be provided prior to the beginning of the workday, where possible.
      1. Only in extenuating circumstances is it acceptable that someone other than the employee contact the College related to an absence.
    3. The supervisor or designate is responsible for confirming receipt of the notification.
    4. To be eligible to receive leave benefits (if applicable) an employee must inform their immediate supervisor or appropriate designate of the following:
      1. Type of leave, such as sickness, workplace injury, family illness
      2. Estimated date of return to work.
    5. A failure to report information related to leave requests as set out above may result in the delay or denial of benefits and disciplinary action where appropriate.
    6. Medical Certificates are normally required for application for paid leave benefits for any period of illness in excess of three (3) consecutive days, however the supervisor has the authority to request a Medical Certificate or other reasonable documentation for any Absences that are less than three (3) days. Whenever possible, employees are expected to obtain a Medical Certificate during their Absence, and not following their return to work.

Responsibilities and Accountability

Associate Vice President Human Resources and Student Services is responsible for:

  • Ensuring the availability and communication of this Policy
  • Ensuring appropriate supports are available for employees in need of leave.
  • Ensuring that all employees are advised of and understand their responsibilities under this policy.

Administrators/supervisors are responsible for:

  • Providing a safe and healthy workplace
  • Ensuring that their direct reports are familiar with this Policy and the importance of regular attendance
  • Defining and communicating the method by which absences are to be reported
  • Maintaining accurate attendance records for their staff
  • Analyzing attendance reports, assessing attendance problems, and monitoring sick leave patterns and attendance patterns to address potential attendance issues as soon as possible.
  • Where an employee’s leave usage is at the attendance threshold, seeking input from the employee and Human Resources to determine if an attendance plan, accommodation plan, or return-to-work plan is appropriate in the circumstances.
  • Equitably administering policies that relate to attendance management
  • Ensuring that Medical Certificates are received to substantiate sick leave where applicable
  • Seeking advice from and working with Human Resources throughout the attendance management process
  • Addressing attendance problems in a timely manner
  • Acknowledging attendance improvement
  • Modeling well-being, life-work balance, and appropriate attendance patterns
  • Informing employees about the Employee Assistance Program
  • Working with third party provider in facilitating early return to work by employees through modified or alternative work duties, where appropriate
  • Maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of employee health and medical information.

The Human Resources Department is responsible for:

  • Supporting the well-being and positive attendance capacity of all employees
  • Ensuring consistent and effective administration of leave benefits
  • Working with employees, their union where applicable, and third parties to address potential accommodation and return to work matters
  • Assisting with the implementation of modified work duties, where appropriate
  • Referring employees on extended absences or above the sick time threshold to third party provider, where appropriate.
  • Providing manager/supervisors in departments with attendance data for their review and assessment.
  • Providing advice and assistance to managers/supervisors concerning the implementation of this Policy
  • Providing management support, training and consultation on attendance problem issues
  • Maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of employee health and medical information.
  • Ensuring that this Policy is administered in a manner consistent with any applicable collective agreements.

Employees are responsible for:

  • Monitoring and communicating about issues related to their well-being and potential attendance challenges.
  • Seeking support from supervisors and Human Resources staff when needed to help maintain well-being and regular attendance.
  • Attending work regularly, on time, and staying for the duration of their work day/shift
  • Providing reasons for all absences or incidents of lateness and early leaves, including providing medical information when requested.
  • Attending to personal affairs and obligations (including medical or dental appointments), when possible, during personal time and not during work hours
  • Reporting all Absences according to procedures as outlined in this Policy and the Attendance Management Procedure
  • Maintaining contact with their immediate supervisor or appropriate designate while they are injured/ill or otherwise absent from work.
  • Following recommended assistance or treatment programs to facilitate a prompt return to work, where applicable.

Related Procedures/Reference Documents