A clinic complains that employer demands for sick notes clog up the health system.

Doctors at B.C. clinic call on employers to stop asking for sick notes

Woman posts photo of letter on Facebook she received when asking for medical note.

Doctors at a medical clinic in Pemberton are handing out letters instead of sick notes, asking employers to stop requiring sick notes and wasting people’s time.

Local resident Becca Moriarty, 26, posted a photo of the letter to her Facebook page this week, after going in to get a sick note for her boss.

The letter says a policy requiring a sick note for missed time puts an “added burden” on the healthcare system, taking up resources that could be used on people are who actually ill.

“People seeking sick notes — who otherwise wouldn’t see a doctor — end up in physicians’ offices, walk-in clinics and emergency department waiting rooms,” it says. “There, they may spread germs to pregnant women, frail elderly people, cancer patients and babies — all of whom are vulnerable to communicable disease.”

It also says the doctors find it difficult to charge someone for a requirement from their employer, since sick notes aren’t insured by MSP, and gives the employer a warning: continue to require medical notes and be prepared to receive a $50 invoice for each one.

“As Canadian residents, we are lucky to have our healthcare system, but citizens’ inability to access the systems services in a timely fashion is a growing problem,” the letter says. “I hope you will consider changing your current absenteeism policy to help reduce the unnecessary burden on our health-care system and improve access for all British Columbians.”

When she handed the letter to her boss, she said the reaction was “complete confusion.”

Moriarty – who works in the food industry – added she sees both sides to the issue of sick notes.

“I understand the employer needs to know, but that comes down to: we’re adults, this isn’t school anymore, I don’t need a note from my mom saying I’m not going to be at school,” she said, adding she’d much rather be at work making money than sick at home.

A person who answered the phone at the clinic said the doctors do not wish to be interviewed.

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