Written by Darcy Hryn-Bird
If you are an ASPA member in a term or permanent position of one (1) year or greater and at least 0.5 Full Time Equivalent (FTE), did you know that you are eligible for the Salary Continuance Plan?
ASPA’s Salary Continuance Plan, or sick leave, is broken down into three distinct groupings or phases.
1. Days 1 – 5
These are times here and there that you need to be off work because of a medical reason. Examples would be a migraine or the flu but the time away from work would be less than five days. You would let your supervisor know that you were away due to an illness and track your absence in PAWS where applicable (not all units use the tracking system in PAWS for this). You would receive 100% of your salary for those days. There is no cap or bank of “sick days.”
2. Days 6 – 112
This would be your short-term disability (STD) phase. You need to be off due to medical reasons for at least 6 consecutive days to trigger STD. Examples of this might be gall bladder surgery or a broken ankle. The member is medically unable to work for an extended period of time. The time off would need to be medically supported by a health care practitioner. arcHealth is the third-party company contracted by the employer to administer the short-term disability plan portion of the overall Salary Continuance Plan. If you know that you are going to be off for greater than five (5) days, then you should let your supervisor know this and provide them with an anticipated date of return. At that point either your supervisor or you can send in a Wellness referral form, which can be found here: https://wellness.usask.ca/help/wellness-referral-form.php. Once the referral has been submitted someone from arcHealth, a case manager, will reach out to you to have you complete their forms. You can find out more about this process here: https://wellness.usask.ca/benefits/disability-claim.php#SickLeaveandorShorttermDisability
This time off is paid at 100% of your salary.
3. Days 113 onward till you are 65 years of age
This is the long-term disability (LTD) phase. Should your short-term disability look like it is going to go past the 112-day mark, inclusive of any return-to-work plan, you would need to begin the process of making a long-term disability claim. Sun Life is the third-party provider of the LTD, they manage and adjudicate these claims. arcHealth can in the initial stages assist you by providing you with the forms that Sun Life will need.
LTD benefits would continue until the member is well enough to return to work or to the age of 65, whichever is sooner. Members receive 66 2/3% of their pre disability salary while on LTD.
While on LTD the member is paid directly from Sun Life. The members’ health dental and life benefits are continued, and the employer makes both the member’s and employer’s contributions to the member’s pension plan.
Sun Life will request medical documentation to support the need to be on LTD.
You can find out more information about the process here: https://wellness.usask.ca/benefits/disability-claim.php#LongtermDisability.
If either the STD or LTD claim, or both, are denied, both plans have an appeal process. We highly encourage anyone needing either STD or LTD to reach out to ASPA with any questions.
Members who are not eligible for the Salary Continuance Plan still have access to sick leave. These members receive 1.25 days of sick leave per month of employment. This amount is cumulative and pro-rated for part-time people.
We often get questions about “whether or not I should be using my “sick time” for any medical related appointments.” ASPA is a bit different than our CUPE 1975 colleagues as their medical appointments come out of their sick-day bank. The majority of ASPA members do not have a “sick-day bank” per se.
The advice that ASPA has been recommending and which seems to be accepted by the employer is based on whether the medical appointment is routine or non-routine. If the medical appointment is routine- like a prescription renewal or dental cleaning – this would be time out of your flex-time bank. If it is a non-routine appointment -like a chipped tooth or follow up tests or appointments due to an illness – this time would be part of the first phase of your Salary Continuance Plan.
Should you not be eligible for the Salary Continuance Plan these non-routine appointments would be time covered by your sick-day bank and routine appointments would be covered by your flex-time bank.
As always, however, if you are ever unsure or have questions you can either reach out to our Member Services Officer, Glenn Billingsley, directly at email@example.com or contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.