Union members, staff and faculty should monitor themselves for symptoms of influenza-like- illness. Early recognition of influenza-like illness and social distancing or self-isolation from others can reduce the risk of transmission. The key preventive measures from Public Health remain the same: regular hand washing, proper respiratory/cough etiquette and staying away from work or school when ill. All union members, staff and faculty must be aware of the symptoms and the importance of reporting symptoms and/or absences to their supervisors or delegates before the beginning of the first day absent.

When an employee advises you they will be absent the following are subsequent actions:

  • Advise the employee that Occupational Health is tracking the impact of COVID19 on employee attendance

  • If the employee is ill, please report this directly to Occupational Health and proceed with your usual illness reporting procedures through Workday

Please also consult the social distancing section of this toolkit.

Reporting to Occupational Health

Unless otherwise instructed by the department head, supervisors/managers (or delegate) are to report influenza-like-illnesses and absences or unexplained employee absences daily via email to the designate in their area. The designate will then email the absence to occupationalhealth@uwaterloo.ca which will be monitored daily by Occupational Health.

When reporting the absence please include:

  • The name of the absent employee

  • The department (include work area or location)

  • The employee’s home and/or mobile phone number

Occupational Health will communicate with the individual, as well as the departmental or administrative head, to provide guidance about maintaining good health practices in the workplace.

Please note regarding employees undergoing COVID-19 screening: While Public Health promotes a 48- hour turn-around time for COVID-19 testing, it is likely that additional time will be needed for Occupational Health to communicate next steps back to your departmental or administrative head.

Under normal absences, a doctor’s note is required after the fifth day absent. Should an employee be absent or unable to work from home due to illness related to COVID-19, this timeline will be extended. Declaration and follow up will occur between Occupational Health and the impacted employee.

Tracking purposes

As the employer, we will collect certain information from an employee and communicate how that information will be used, disclosed and kept secure. Clear direction to employees outlining why certain medical information is being collected will help employees understand why it is necessary and reasonable for the employer to collect, use and disclose their medical information in response to the situation. During a pandemic, when employers have reason to believe that employees in a contagious state are in the workplace, it may be necessary to ask such questions in order to assess this point.

We may wish to know whether an employee has travelled to an area that is experiencing a high incidence of the disease. Different kinds of information may need to be collected by Occupational Health, used and disclosed at various points throughout the course of a pandemic. We will continue to update this guide as the requirements change.

Return to work plan

Referring to the Disability Guidelines for return to work, employees and managers must work together with Occupational Health to ensure a safe return to work.

Connect with your medical practitioner if you need to access testing.