Human Resources Expert Discusses Sick Days in Pandemic Times

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Prof. Nita Chhinzer

Will the COVID-19 pandemic force workplaces to rethink their sick leave policies?

Is requiring that all workplaces offer a certain number of sick days the answer to ensuring employees stay home when potentially ill with COVID-19, or does it just lead to abuse? Who should pay for these sick days? How are the issues different for wage earners and salaried employees?

The University of Guelph has an expert who can offer commentary.

Prof. Nita Chhinzer, Department of Management in U of G’s Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, is a professor of human resources who studies downsizing practices and aspects of employment ethics.

Chhinzer says in some workplaces, employees admit they sometimes take sick days even when they’re not sick. In other workplaces, it’s the opposite problem.

She recently spoke with the Toronto Star  about the common problem of  “presenteeism,” in which employees go to work when they’re ill because of a culture that praises overwork, or because they are low-wage workers who need to keep working, or because they have so much work to do they can’t afford to take a break.

Chhinzer was interviewed by CTV Kitchener about how the pandemic is changing the stigma around sick days, as well as CBC Radio Winnipeg’s Up to Speed program about what companies can do to make sure sick days are used responsibly.

She is available for interviews.

Contact:

Prof. Nita Chhinzer
chhinzer@uoguelph.ca