Doctor Rejects an Employer’s Sick Note Request with an EPIC Response That Should End Sick Notes for Good


by Jason DeWitt | Top Right News

We all remember when, as children, we stayed home sick from school, we always had to go to the doctor to get a “sick note” to excuse the absence. Even if we weren’t that sick, the school required our parents to do it.

It was annoying then. But it is far more irritating that most of us still need to do this — as adults.

That’s because the majority of companies require their employees to submit a note from their health care provider in order to have a work absence recognized as “sick leave.”

Most workers find this requirement to be a hassle. And they are not alone. Physicians are increasingly annoyed at the practice as well.

One such physician, Dr. Ethel Cooper-Rosen in Nova Scotia, decided to do something about it. Dr. Cooper-Rosen regularly sends her own note to employers outlining her objections to the “sick note” requirement.

This week, the note was posted by an employer who agree with her to Reddit (via Chris Martin) — and it’s going viral.

In the note the good doctor wrote:


“As a business operator in Nova Scotia, I am asking for your support in helping to alleviate an unnecessary pressure on the health-care system. I am hoping you will consider revisiting your current absenteeism policy and remove the requirement for your employees to obtain a medical note for missed time from work.

This policy creates an unnecessary burden on the health-care system and also exposes seriously ill patients in my office to viruses that could cause detrimental consequences to their health. In most cases, the best remedy for a patient with an isolated illness (i.e., gastrointestinal virus or common cold) is to stay home, rest and drink fluids. Coming to a doctor’s office or an emergency room for a medical note does not complement their recovery.”

She then presents employers with her own policy, which many others agree, seems only fair:


“If, for whatever reason, your business decides to continue to require a physician to authorize their employee’s absenteeism, I will require your employee to bring with them a written request from the organization for the medical note. Upon providing this service I will invoice your company $30.00 per medical note. This is standard practice when providing non-medical necessary services for third-party organizations.”

Very thought-provoking indeed.

Despite differences between the Canadian and U.S. health systems, the basic premise of her note is just as relevant here.

People with colds or viruses should stay home and rest. Coming to a place where others are sick can expose you to more illnesses. Plus, doctors have more important things to do than spend their time writing absence excuses for sick employees.

What is the policy at your company? Do you wish your employer would read Dr. Cooper-Rosen’s note?


[h/t Reddit, IJR]


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