Government of New Brunswick





The purpose of the policy is to provide direction on the management of absenteeism in Parts I, II and III of the Public Service.

Policy Statement

The Government of New Brunswick is committed to managing employee attendance through a positive, supportive environment that promotes the best possible attendance. Every employee has a responsibility to maintain regular attendance at work.


This policy applies to all employees of Parts I, II and III of the Public Service.

Guiding Principles

The following principles guide the management of absenteeism:

Responsible leave utilization: Eliminate avoidable absences and minimize the duration of those absences that cannot be avoided.

Consistency: Active management of sick leave and other unscheduled absences, applied consistently throughout Parts I, II and III of the Public Service.

Insurance vs. Entitlement: Sick leave is a form of insurance to be used only in the event that an employees’ illness or injury prevents them from reporting for work.


Roles and Responsibilities


Five categories of participants share responsibilities for attendance at work as follows:

Participant Responsibilities
Employees Employee’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
  • Reporting to work on a regular, timely basis;
  • Attending to personal affairs and obligations outside normal working hours, when practical;
  • Reporting all absences according to procedures as outlined in this policy and the Attendance Support Guide for Immediate Supervisors. For example:
    •  Where practical, notification of an absence is made by the employee, and not someone on his or her behalf;
    • Absence notification is to occur within one hour of the start of the work day or alternatively; as established by the immediate supervisor;
    • Absence notification is to be made directly to the employee’s immediate supervisor (or designate), not clerical staff or a co-workers. In the event that the employee is unable to speak directly to their immediate supervisor (or designate) the immediate supervisor will call the employee back as soon as possible and speak to the employee directly.
  • Applying for sick leave in accordance with the provisions of applicable collective agreements (where applicable), policies and directives;
  • Following recommended assistance or treatment programs and modified return to work plans;
  • Ensuring any medical note received includes the detailed information (i.e. prognosis, functional abilities and potential effects of medications which could inhibit normal function and impact the safety of the employee or others) required for the approval of an extended request for leave (i.e. Statement of Fitness to Work form).
  • Advising their treatment providers of the availability of modified alternative work duties, where applicable; and
  • Providing feedback and participating in the development of an action plan for return to work. 
Human Resources
Human Resources Services’ responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
  • Providing attendance reports for the immediate supervisor’s review and assessment;
  • Ensuring and promoting consistent and effective administration of leave benefits;
  • Providing support, advice, consultation and assistance to the immediate supervisors in the areas of attendance support;
  • Providing guidance and assistance with the implementation of modified alternative work duties, where appropriate;
  • Providing information concerning the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) or the Employee Assistance Program (EAP); and
  • Providing training to immediate supervisors on attendance support procedures. 
Managers and
 The immediate supervisor’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
  • Communication
    • Practicing open ended communication and listening to comments and feedback;
    • Engaging employees to recognize their value to the organization;
    • Educating employees on the importance of regular attendance;
    • Consistently and fairly administering the organization’s policies that relate to attendance support;
    • Communicating regularly with employees about the organization’s attendance expectations including the prescribed absence notification procedure;
    • Promoting a safe and healthy workplace;
    • Informing new employees about attendance expectations during orientation;
    • Maintaining contact with absent employees;
    • Sharing with other immediate supervisors innovative ways to deal with an attendance concern; and
    • Informing employees about the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) or the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
  • Monitoring attendance
    • Maintaining accurate employee records of attendance, working with their respective human resource representative;
    • Analyzing attendance reports, assessing attendance concerns, and monitoring sick leave patterns and usage by their employees;
    • Determining the presence of an attendance concern and addressing it in a timely manner;
    • Contacting the employee for additional information when they commence sick leave unexpectedly, if required; and
    • Requesting the employee to obtain further detailed documentation (i.e. prognosis, functional abilities and any effects of medication which could inhibit normal function and impact the safety of the employee or others) from their treatment providers when their medical note is vague regarding the details of why they are unable to attend work for more than fifteen (15) calendar days.
  • Recognizing and encouraging employees
    • Recognizing an employee’s contributions to the unit;
    • Commending improved attendance;
    • Recognizing and encouraging exemplary attendance
    • Exhibiting concern for the employee’s wellbeing and demonstrating that you are glad that the employee is back to work;
    • Supporting employees who are experiencing personal difficulties that are affecting their attendance (e.g. ensure they are aware of services available through EFAP/EAP); and
    • Being open to employee’s feedback and encouraging them to participate in an action plan.
Senior Management’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
  • Communicating and supporting the Attendance at Work Policy (AD-2922)
  • Ensuring measurement, evaluation and feedback systems are in place; and
  • Ensuring that internal policies, practices and assignment of resources support GNB’s Attendance at Work Policy. 
Treasury Board
Treasury Board responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
  • Developing/communicating a government-wide attendance at work policy and supporting framework; and
  • Providing support and assistance in program delivery through:
    • Corporate absence data-base and reported information,
    • Expert consultation on program interpretation and alternate work arrangements,
    • Current leave policies and, as appropriate, the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) or the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and
    • Providing measurement and evaluation of Attendance at Work results.

Managing Attendance


Attendance  Support Guide

The Attendance Support Guide for Immediate Supervisors provides direction to effectively manage absenteeism in the workplace.

It is mandatory for supervisors and HR Staff to complete attendance support training.

Active  Management of Unscheduled  Absences

Employees have a responsibility to follow established absences reporting procedures as part the Attendance Support Guide for Immediate Supervisors.

When an employee experiences difficulties with attendance, they will be supported by their supervisor to achieve and maintain regular attendance at work. Support may include the offer of EFAP/EAP services, temporary arrangements or flexible work hours, depending on the circumstances surrounding the employee’s absence.  Employees will be expected to work collaboratively with their supervisor and participate in plans to improve their attendance.

Longer periods of absence, exceeding 15 calendar days, will be actively managed. Employees will be expected to participate in return to work planning and provide regular medical updates to their supervisor, including a statement of Fitness for Work Form as well their anticipated return to work date. The employee is responsible to cover the cost associated with obtaining the necessary medical documentation unless otherwise notified by their Human Resources Branch.

The ultimate goal is to return the employee to their pre-absence position as soon as feasible.


Related Information


Overview of  Income Protection

The following policies and legislation provide various forms of income protection for unscheduled absence, which must be integrated under attendance management:

  • Workers’ Compensation Act;
  • Long Term Disability (for participating employee groups only, see AD-3105)
  • Sick Leave with pay (see AD-2202); and
  • Employment Insurance.


Financial Administration Act,Section 6(1)(I)
Board of Management Minutes: 06.0005; 14.0073