Salary Continuance

Written by Darcy Hryn-Bird

Did you know that salary continuance is made up of both a short term disability (STD) and long term disability (LTD) plan?  The STD plan is for medical absences from one (1) to ninety (90) days in length. LTD is medical absences of greater than ninety (90) days.

On May 1, 2017 the employer made a change to how ASPA member’s STD plan is being delivered: the University has contracted Lifemark Health Group to administer ASPA’s and all other STD plans on campus.   ASPA has filed a policy grievance to address some concerns that we have with this new process.  To date, the Faculty Association has also filed a grievance on this matter.  At this point it is unknown how long it will take to get resolution to the grievance or what that might look like but here is what we do know:

The University’s process to access the STD plan is as follows:

  • The employer refers medical absences that are greater than five (5) days to Wellness. Either you or your supervisor will report to Wellness that you need to be off for more than five (5) days due to medical reasons. Previously, this notification was required after ten (10) days of medical absence.
  • Wellness will then email you the documents to be filled in by you and your doctor. You have 10 days in which to get them completed and returned to Lifemark.  Any costs associated with filling out the forms will be your responsibility.
  • Wellness will also send a referral of your case to Lifemark. Lifemark will contact you within a day or two of the referral.  Lifemark operates in various locations across Canada, and the closest Lifemark office is located in Calgary.
  • Once Lifemark has received and reviewed the documentation they will either accept or deny the claim and advise both you and the University of such.
  • If your medical STD is denied by the employer, you have fourteen (14) days in which to appeal this decision. Meanwhile, your supervisor/manager will contact you to discuss your return to work, or advise you if your salary continuance will cease.
  • If your claim is accepted and you need to be off longer than ninety (90) days, Lifemark will provide you with the long term disability (LTD) forms to send to Sunlife about forty – five (45) days prior to the end of you STD.

What else should you know?

  • Short term disability eligibility is provided for those members who are under 67 years of age and are employed in a position greater than or equal to 0.5 FTE or greater than or equal to one (1) year.
  • Medical absences of less than five (5) days in length will not normally be referred to Wellness unless there is an overall pattern to them.
  • To date we are unaware of the employer cutting off anyone’s salary continuance while they are working through the process.
  • We have not yet had anyone go through the appeal process but have had claims denied.
  • Short term disability is compensated at 100% of your salary.
  • Short term disability is up to ninety (90) days in length and must be supported medically.

If you need to be off work for medical reasons beyond five (5) days, ASPA recommends that you do the following:

  • Contact ASPA for assistance or questions.
  • Ensure that when you are filling out the forms that both you and your Doctor describe the medical reasons why you need to be off. Information provided should be related to these medical findings.
  • Appeal any denial of your claim.
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