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Sick Leave

mariomike

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Saw this in the canabis cupcake discussion.

Other emergency services employers will have some sort of short term sick leave, and then you generally transition to a private insurance company that has some sort of long term disability plan. If you can't come back to your substantive job within a couple years, the goal shift to can you be gainfully employable at all, and you have to work towards that to protect your income replacement benefits. Or, if it's work related you might fall under worker's comp.

If it's comp. they don't touch your Sick Bank. It continues to grow over the years. That's your retirement gratuity. You earned it.

The bad news is, if it is comp., unless you are in a hospital and can blink your eyes you got to come in. But, you won't be responding to 9-1-1 calls.

If it's permanent, they place you in a "suitable" job with the City. Could be anything. And I do mean ANYTHING.

The important thing is, until you die or retire, they maintain your pre-injury pay rate, and all the raises that go with it.


 

mariomike

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Replying here to keep the canabis cupcake discussion on topic.

Unless you meant something entirely different by "it's taken off like wildfire".

The concern, as I heard it expressed, was if an honourable path existed to get off 9-1-1 operations, that many would not hesitate to take advantage of it.

I was replying to this,

I have heard the number off on extended leave with my former service and recall being quite astounded. In addition to the ones that are on leave, there are also those who are working, but with accommodations that make me scratch my head (or scream). No doubt some psychologist could put a bow on it but I can't. I'm not sure I fully buy the "horrific scenario" or on-the-job exposure argument. Those situations long pre-date the recent generation of members. Sure, they're busy and staffing is an issue, but my generation got to do it with a very basic and sometimes dodgy radio system, closed holsters and often without backup. They have 12-hour shifts yet complain they are burned out. Perhaps there is such a thing of 'generational resilience' (which the 'greatest generation' had in spades and puts us all to shame). Perhaps they are hiring the wrong recruits. The message is 'you can be (chief)', 'you can help people', you can work with kids'; which is all great, but I wonder if the the realities of street policing (and military service) comes as surprise to many. Perhaps it is a training or probationary evaluation issue.

We could , and did, take mental health days. But, they came out of your Sick Bank.

I was never on Long Term Disability ( LTD ), but it paid 75%. They deducted one-quarter day from your Sick Bank to top it up to 100%.

After I retired, mental health days were written into the collective agreement, with no deduction from your Sick Bank. I would call that progress.

They became even more progressive in 2016,

Perhaps they are hiring the wrong recruits.

Yes, I have heard that comment as well. "Just not cut out for it." is how how I heard it described.

Perhaps it is a training or probationary evaluation issue

I was a probie for the standard 12 months. If they had concerns, they could stretch it to 18 months, If they still had concerns after that, they let you go.

They have 12-hour shifts yet complain they are burned out.

We went from 8-hour to 12-hour shifts in late 1975. It meant you only had to work 20 shifts every six weeks. Our firefighters now do 24-hour tours.

Perhaps there is such a thing of 'generational resilience' (which the 'greatest generation' had in spades and puts us all to shame).

I hired on under the watchful eyes of the '46ers. I would have felt great shame if I had to admit to them that I couldn't handle the stress.

Not saying that's right. Back then, we didn't know any better. Emotional fragility just did not come up in conversation.

But, these were the men who "molded" me.

Not saying those days were right or wrong from now. Just different.

In case I left you with the impression they were heartless - they were not.

But, somebody had to run the calls. The public does not care if you are having a bad day.

If you were off with stress, that increased the workload of members who respond to the calls.

They will call in OT if the car count dips dangerously low due to book-offs. But, only the absolute minimum.

That does not serve the public, or members who do not call in sick particularly well.

Everyone was under stress. It's the nature of the job, and 9-1-1 operations never let up. Some could handle it. Some couldn't.

But, we did have resourses even in those primitive days. We had a dedicated in-house Staff Psychologist in place since 1986 who provided 24/7 confidential consultation, and a Peer Resource Team established in the late 1980s to provide confidential peer-to-peer support.

We also had a Chaplain. I seldom felt the need to go to church, but I very much appreciated the service he provided. Even did my father's funeral.
 

lenaitch

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I want to clarify my earlier post that I'm not questioning or begrudging the response to stress/sick leave for employees who need it; I was simply commenting on the apparent recent high numbers. It is true that social and employer response in days gone by was in the 'suck it up' category, but reflecting on 31 years of police service from the '70s to early 2000s, I can think of exactly one member I worked with who exhibited a visible change after a particular incident. True that there were likely others who were impacted in less visible ways. Certainly we had members who drank to much and probably some that were domestically abusive - and some that were probably both - but from the few that I knew, they likely would have been like they were if they were plumbers.

The son of a former colleague is into year two of his career and is already off on sick leave. It is totally related to a toxic work environment. Circling of wagons has already happened.

I understand the human rights aspect of 'reasonable accommodation' but, unfortunately, the 'undue hardship' is measured in relation to the employer, not the impact on colleagues, especially in smaller work locations. It's hard to articulate without sounding uncaring, but I've heard of some quite 'fascinating' accommodations, with the slack being picked up by colleagues.
 

mariomike

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It's hard to articulate without sounding uncaring, but I've heard of some quite 'fascinating' accommodations, with the slack being picked up by colleagues.
I feel the same way.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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While I'm sure many accommodations/stress leaves are valid, I think it's also true that it's likely much more likely for one to "need" stress leave if it is available.

By way of illustration, I am self employed and the sole income for my family. I have had times in my life where the stress was nearly unbearable, I suffered from deep depression and insomnia. But if I didn't "suck it up" mortgage payments would get missed and food wouldn't go on the table. So I fought through it. Had stress leave been available I may well have taken in. Yet obviously I was still capable of working and doing good work. So I have mixed feelings on it.
 

mariomike

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I have had times in my life where the stress was nearly unbearable, I suffered from deep depression and insomnia.

I don't know what line of work you are in, but I am sorry to hear that.

Years after I retired, the Ombudsman did an 89 page study titled,

Making the Strong Stronger An Investigation into how the Toronto Paramedic Services Address Staff Operational Stress Injuries

It made 26 recommendations.

This section, in particular, made sense to me,

8.6 Knowing What You're Getting Into – Pre-Employment Screening

210. The idea that paramedics should receive some form of preemployment psychological screening prior to being hired was raised by a number of individuals throughout this investigation in all parts of the Toronto Paramedic Services.

211. Some of the clinicians that we spoke with supported selection criteria based on psychological grounds, such as excluding applicants that demonstrate lower resiliency traits or who were otherwise unstable from an emotional/psychological level to engage in the type of work done by paramedics.

214. A retired chief from TPS told us during his interview that, in his opinion, the onus is squarely on the colleges, "so that not only are people going to be successful in the community college program, but within their first year of employment they're not going to fall into difficulties because of this whole issue of PTSD." He noted that, in his experience, there are "too many horror stories" of paramedics that have successfully completed the college program and after their first or second traumatic call, "that's when they find out they're not cut out for it."
 

lenaitch

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214. A retired chief from TPS told us during his interview that, in his opinion, the onus is squarely on the colleges, "so that not only are people going to be successful in the community college program, but within their first year of employment they're not going to fall into difficulties because of this whole issue of PTSD." He noted that, in his experience, there are "too many horror stories" of paramedics that have successfully completed the college program and after their first or second traumatic call, "that's when they find out they're not cut out for it."
I would suspect the colleges would say that is none of their business and outside of their mandate. Back when the earth was still cooling, I attended a 'law enforcement' program at a community college. Back then there was virtually no one planning on private security (it wasn't much an industry back then) - everybody was aiming for public law enforcement. If you didn't have the minimums (height, citizenship, etc.) you couldn't get in the program. I even attended my first autopsy; it was a non-mandatory but 'expected' part of the program. All of the faculty were ex-cops. They acting as gate-keepers for the profession. Now, very few are and if you meet the minimum educational qualifications and have the tuition, you're in. These programs have lost the bloom with several large Ontario services because they are finding that they are no longer producing what they want.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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I don't know what line of work you are in, but I am sorry to hear that.
Criminal defence lawyer. Which doesn't involve seeing traumatic scenes "in the flesh" but does involve it's share of reviewing such things, although the stress mostly comes from dealing with difficult people and the very heavily results-oriented nature of the job while having little control over the results. So "ineffective assistance of counsel" suits are always looming. But moreover at the time I had undiagnosed hypothyroidism which heavily contributed to making things tough, as well as personal life issues.

Getting the hypothyroidism diagnosed and treated, while also getting into a routine of going to the gym 5x per week have all got the stress down to a manageable level without any days off ever taken. At least in my case, the inability to take stress leave forced me to get the situation sorted out and find effective ways to manage the stress. If I'd taken leave I probably just would have slept a lot until I felt better then returned without underlying issues addressed.
 

mariomike

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I would suspect the colleges would say that is none of their business and outside of their mandate. Back when the earth was still cooling, I attended a 'law enforcement' program at a community college. Back then there was virtually no one planning on private security (it wasn't much an industry back then) - everybody was aiming for public law enforcement. If you didn't have the minimums (height, citizenship, etc.) you couldn't get in the program. I even attended my first autopsy; it was a non-mandatory but 'expected' part of the program. All of the faculty were ex-cops. They acting as gate-keepers for the profession. Now, very few are and if you meet the minimum educational qualifications and have the tuition, you're in. These programs have lost the bloom with several large Ontario services because they are finding that they are no longer producing what they want.

When I hired on, the requirements were Grade 12, 5'8" and a resdiency requirement.

I think you had to be under the age of 25, but don't recall seeing that in writing. But, it was in practice.

The height and weight and residency requiremts are gone.

Now, in Ontario, they must graduate a two-year college Paramedic program.
From what I undstand, many applcants now have the four-year University of Toronto paramedic degree program.

I agree with you,

These programs have lost the bloom with several large Ontario services because they are finding that they are no longer producing what they want.

But, the Chief was right about the "horror stories". They can only hire from the college "farm teams". That's the law.

214. A retired chief from TPS told us during his interview that, in his opinion, the onus is squarely on the colleges, "so that not only are people going to be successful in the community college program, but within their first year of employment they're not going to fall into difficulties because of this whole issue of PTSD." He noted that, in his experience, there are "too many horror stories" of paramedics that have successfully completed the college program and after their first or second traumatic call, "that's when they find out they're not cut out for it."
 

lenaitch

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When I hired on, the requirements were Grade 12, 5'8" and a resdiency requirement.

I think you had to be under the age of 25, but don't recall seeing that in writing. But, it was in practice.

The height and weight and residency requiremts are gone.

Now, in Ontario, they must graduate a two-year college Paramedic program.
From what I undstand, many applcants now have the four-year University of Toronto paramedic degree program.

I agree with you,



But, the Chief was right about the "horror stories". They can only hire from the college "farm teams". That's the law.
At the risk of extending the stray from the thread topic, I suppose one of the things impacting EMS, at least in Ontario, is that there has never been a 'provincial EMS school' that I am aware of. Law enforcement has always had the Ontario Police College (gad - I went there when it was still H-huts from RCAF Station Alymer!) plus larger forces have their own additional training units for their own particular needs. Fire is similar, although the OFM are closing the Ontario Fire College and moving to a more regional platform in partner with larger departments.

EMS has evolved to require a significant level of medical training from the days of 'ambulance drivers' with pretty much basic first aid and the province has relied of public colleges to provide that training. One wonders if the Police College didn't already exist then similar mandatory training would have been through the colleges as well. There was a still-born move several year ago to shift OPC from SolGen to Colleges and Universities. One problem is there has never been any direct input or consultation from the police community into their course content and, from what I have been hearing about the quality of graduates, that is starting to show. When program staff was mostly ex-cops it wasn't much of an issue since they had a good sense of the 'product' desired by the 'client'. That is no longer the case.

Things like residency requirements pretty much went out the window with the Charter. Back in the day, I'm not aware that the OPP had a formal policy, beyond the diktats from the District Commander (who's word was law) that thou shalt live within your detachment area. Now, so long as you show up for work on time, they don't care. It has put pressure on some detachments. Enabled by 12-hour shifts, some members will share an apartment or even a motel room and drive in from several hours away for their work block. I've often wondered why someone who wants to live in a city would join a deployed service, but that's just me. It has caused some problems in more remote detachments since call-outs and other extras fall disproportionately to members living in the community.

Anyway, soliloquy off. I'm lounging today recovering from a pulled muscle.
 

mariomike

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I suppose one of the things impacting EMS, at least in Ontario, is that there has never been a 'provincial EMS school' that I am aware of.

In 1967 training was standardized. All ambulance staff in Ontario attended the 160 hour course at CFB Borden. Toronto ran its own course.

Both were replaced by 1975 by community colleges which became the minimum level of training.


Things like residency requirements pretty much went out the window with the Charter.

I wonder why? It used to be a requirement to get hired. Probably not important with a provincial or federal employer, but it was with municipal.

Enabled by 12-hour shifts, some members will share an apartment or even a motel room and drive in from several hours away for their work block.

Sure. We went on 12-hour shifts in 1975. You would only sleep in the motel 7 nights every six weeks. If you could get eight guys on opposite shifts it wouldn't cost much at all. If they didn't mind hot-bunking. :)

I never did it. But, I knew guys who did.

Only thing better is the 24-hour tours the firefighters work.

A 12 hour shift for police sounds tiring. I mean, even on a slow shift, you still have to stay alert.

I'm lounging today recovering from a pulled muscle.

Nothing wrong with lounging. I hope you feel better soon.
 

mariomike

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It was my understanding that it was Sec. 6 (Mobility Rights).
Thank-you. That was an interesting read.

Switching from 8 to 10, 12 or 24 hour shifts facilitate member commuting time, but doesn’t allow them to be as rapidly deployed into the community at the times when they are needed most.

As you mentioned,

It has caused some problems in more remote detachments since call-outs and other extras fall disproportionately to members living in the community.

The issue of where municipal employees - especially police officers — live and whether it matters — seems to be more of a hot topic in the U.S. , where tensions between racialized communities and police are focusing attention on the demographic makeup of police departments.

I was thankful for the residency requirement when I joined. Didn't miss it after I got on.

I understand provincial and federal employees go where they are sent.

Worst they could do to us was transfer you to Scarborough. :)
 

lenaitch

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Thank-you. That was an interesting read.

Switching from 8 to 10, 12 or 24 hour shifts facilitate member commuting time, but doesn’t allow them to be as rapidly deployed into the community at the times when they are needed most.

As you mentioned,



The issue of where municipal employees - especially police officers — live and whether it matters — seems to be more of a hot topic in the U.S. , where tensions between racialized communities and police are focusing attention on the demographic makeup of police departments.

I was thankful for the residency requirement when I joined. Didn't miss it after I got on.

I understand provincial and federal employees go where they are sent.

Worst they could do to us was transfer you to Scarborough. :)
Nothing like a transfer that is still a local phone call. I remember Toronto guys thinking 23 Division (north Etobicoke) was akin to being sent to Siberia.
 

lenaitch

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mariomike

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