Nova Scotia (Civil Service Commission) v Nova Scotia Government Employees Union (NSGEU)

Document Type

Arbitration Decision

Publication Date



Collective Agreement, Paid Sick Leave, Medical Certificate, Absent, Memorandum, Required Form


The Grievors, although covered by different Collective Agreements with the Employer, both alleged breach of the paid sick leave clause which, in both cases, is worded identically. The respective provisions enabled the Deputy Head of the particular government department to require an employee to produce a certificate from a medical doctor for any period of absence for which sick leave is claimed. If the requested certificate is not produced, the time absent from work will be deducted from the employee's pay. The second provision allowed the Employer to require the employee requesting paid sick leave to complete his or her application in a manner specified by the Employer, if the sick leave period in question was between four and five days. The Employer had subsequently circulated a memorandum which created a certification procedure for employees requesting paid sick leave. Both Grievors were absent from work for one day. They both subsequently produced a note on a doctor's prescription pad containing only the Grievor's name, the date, and the handwritten statement "unfit for work today" and the doctor's signature. The request for paid sick leave was denied, on the grounds that the required form had not been used. In addition, one of the Grievors was absent from work on another day with teeth problems. No medical certificate was produced by the Employee, and her request for sick leave was denied. The Union argued that the first provision only entitles the Employer to ask for a "medical certificate" from an employee requesting paid sick leave for a period of less than four days. Thus, by implication, the Employer is precluded from further specifications with respect to the manner of reporting the illness, such as is required elsewhere in the Collective Agreement for longer illnesses.


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