Canadian HR Reporter

February 24, 2014

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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PM40065782 RO9496 February 24, 2014 e right way e right way to say goodbye to say goodbye Most fi rms have formal, written Most fi rms have formal, written severance policies: Global survey severance policies: Global survey BY LIZ BERNIER WHEN IT COMES to termina- tion pay, Canadian fi rms are pret- ty much on par with their global counterparts, according to a Right Management global benchmark- ing survey of 1,800 senior lead- ers and HR professionals in 19 countries. For example, top executives dis- missed without cause in Canada receive an average of 3.46 weeks pay per year of service. e global average is 3.48 weeks, while the United States ranks near the bot- tom at 3.16 weeks, found Sever- ance Practices Around the World. Severance is most often off ered as a lump sum payment, and 55 per cent of respondents have a cap on how much pay in lieu of notice they will provide. Common non-monetary bene- fi ts in a severance package include assistance programs, continued benefi ts such as health care and fi - nancial compensation, and — less often — continued use of company resources. Reference letters can also be useful to the outgoing employee, but they are increasingly hard to get in Canada, according to Ron Minken, managing director of Markham, Ont.-based Minken Employment Lawyers. "Companies are more into INSIDE THE CASE AGAINST DOCTOR'S NOTES President of OMA says, in 28 years, he has rarely denied a patient a sick note Passport pains Breaking down changes to the foreign worker program page 5 The toll of 24-7 work How Toronto Hydro kept workers safe during ice storm page 8 Executive series CEO of Corus Entertainment talks about what makes a great leader page 12 page 23 Selection process for Mars Selection process for Mars mission focuses on personalities mission focuses on personalities BY LIZ BERNIER WHEN CHRISTY Foley got the good news, it came in the form of an email: She was one step closer to, one day, watching the sunrise from Mars. Foley is one of 75 Canadians — and 1,058 earthlings — to be se- lected for the second round of the Mars One mission of establishing a permanent human settlement on the red planet. The mission, led by a Dutch not-for-profi t foundation and sup- ported largely by a crowdfunding campaign, plans to depart with its fi rst crew of four in 2024. e mission has its detractors but it's also had more than 200,000 eager applicants from all over the globe. And Foley, a strategic plan- ner based in Edmonton, couldn't be more thrilled to have made the fi rst cut. "(It's) the idea of being a pio- neer — very, very high-tech, but still a pioneer. And that spirit re- ally makes me feel a little giddy," she said. e selection process will be a long and painstakingly careful one, according to Raye Kass, an advisor to the Mars One mission with a fo- cus on psychosocial issues, team- building and group dynamics. Kass, a professor in the depart- ment of applied human sciences at Concordia University in Montreal, said she was initially reluctant to become a mission advisor, given the many obstacles inherent in the one-way mission. But it didn't take long for her to Credit: Jim Urquhart (Reuters) Members of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission venture out in simulated spacesuits at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah. The MDRS, which is not linked directly to the Mars One project, aims to investigate the feasibility of human exploration of Mars. Crews live together in a small communication base with limited amounts of electricity, food, oxygen and water. The Mars One project hopes to send its first four astronauts to the red planet in 2024. NOT > pg. 9 Doctors call in sick on notes Doctors call in sick on notes Doctor's notes a drain on health-care system Doctor's notes a drain on health-care system but how else can employers combat absenteeism? but how else can employers combat absenteeism? BY SARAH DOBSON LOOKING TO lower absentee- ism rates, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) negotiated a new policy around sick days in a 2011 collective agreement. Instead of requiring a doctor's note after fi ve non-consecutive sick days, the TTC now requires a note, within 72 hours of the absence, after just one sick day. Since then, absenteeism rates have dropped to around 7.5 per cent from 8.5 per cent, while the non-unionized side is around three or four per cent, according to Brad Ross, executive director of corporate communications at the TTC. "We felt that a fi ve-day, non- medical-note sick day provision benefi t was being used by some as vacation, to be perfectly frank," he said. e TTC relies on workers to show up to their scheduled shifts to provide service to the public, said Ross. "If they do not show up for work and call in sick and don't have a sick note, then there are conse- quences because of the kind of business that we're in." But Scott Wooder, president of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), caused quite a stir recent- ly when he recommended employ- ers stop requiring sick notes and encourage workers to stay home when ill. "What concerns me is that re- quiring sick notes based on a short absence from work brings patients into waiting rooms and encour- ages the spread of germs. It puts other patients at risk, particularly those who are more vulnerable," he said. (For more, see Wooder's commentary on page 23.) This argument, however, is frivolous and lacks common sense, according to Howard Levitt, sen- ior partner at Levitt & Grosman in Toronto. " e statement that 'We don't want people not going to the doc- tor's offi ce' is ludicrous — where else are people supposed to go than their doctor's?" he said. "We have an increasing epi- demic of sick leave claims in this country, it's been the biggest prob- lem human resources managers have been experiencing in the last several years… and if employers simply have to accept employees' word for it, it's going to lead to a genuine pandemic of absenteeism and illness claims." Truant offi cers? But helping employers police employees' attendance is not the role of physicians, according to Wooder. "Doctors understand the chal- lenges that some workplaces may have, but it is not our responsibil- ity to police employees. I don't think it helps anyone when sick individuals come to the doctor's offi ce. is is especially true dur- ing fl u season but would apply at other times too." Kevin Chapman, director of health policy and promotion at Doctors Nova Scotia, agreed. "You take up a spot... or an ap- pointment time for something which is essentially an administra- tive requirement — you're really looking to have the sick note that says you're OK to return to work," he said. "Oftentimes, all we're real- ly doing is satisfying that adminis- trative requirement and essentially being the gatekeeper." But what other way is there for NOT > pg. 10 PROVIDE > pg. 11 Out of this world Out of this world recruitment recruitment

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