Abused or used
By Chelsea Girard
In an unscientific online survey conducted among people between the ages of 18 and 65, all 34 participants said they believe mental illness affects a person’s physical capability. Almost 45 per cent said they believe those with mental illness would abuse paid leave.
However, 70 per cent of participants said medical leave would be beneficial to those with mental illness in order to return to work with a healthy mind.
Diane Weaver, 44, a registered early childhood educator, said proving someone has a mental illness is hard and certain standards will need to be in place to make sure this medical leave is not taken advantage of.
“My work receives eight sick/personal days a year and I don’t see it any different as to not feeling well,” said Weaver. “With our days however, we do not need to share what is wrong with you if there is anything.”
Many who took part in the survey have varying opinions on how long a mental illness medical leave should be. The answer was dependent on the severity of the person’s mental state and what their doctor believes to be the right amount of time off.
Kylie Hayes, 19, a pre-nursing student at St. Clair College, said any physical illness where an individual receives paid days off should be treated the same as mental illness.
“Just like a physical illness, mental illness affects the ability to work,” said Hayes. “Four to eight weeks should be allowed to recover and learn how to cope with the illness.”
According to Statistics Canada, in 2016, full-time workers in Ontario lost 6.8 days of work due to an illness or disability.
Among the 45 per cent who believe paid medical leave would be abused, they were torn between one to three days of medical leave or a doctor’s note for a designated time.
The unscientific survey concluded that many believe a doctor’s note should be mandatory and the leave should be categorized under sick and accident benefits in order to receive paid days off specifically for mental health related issues.
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