Frequently Asked Questions on Critical Illness

What is critical illness?

If you become incapacitated as a result of a critical illness or serious physical injury you may be granted extended paid sick leave, known as critical illness protocol (CIP), subject to specific criteria. CIP entitles the teacher to: a maximum of six months (183 days) on full pay in a year followed by a maximum of six months (182 days) on half pay.

This is subject to a maximum of 12 months’ (365 days) paid sick leave in a rolling four-year period.

In what circumstances might I be granted access to CIP?

CIP may be granted either on the basis of you meeting certain medical criteria or on the basis of managerial discretion.

What are the criteria for the medical award of CIP?

CIP on the basis of medical criteria may be granted by the Occupational Health Service (OHS) (Medmark) if the following criteria are met: acute life-threatening physical illness chronic progressive illness with well-established potential to reduce life expectancy, major physical trauma requiring corrective acute operative surgical treatment, and inpatient hospital care of two consecutive weeks or greater (two consecutive days in the case of pregnancy-related illness).

In what circumstances may it be awarded on managerial discretion?

If the OHS advises your employer that you do not fulfil the medical criteria for award of CIP, they may be able to award it on the basis of managerial discretion.

The grounds for granting CIP on the basis of medical certification are quite narrow and there will be cases which involve quite serious illness, injuries or conditions, which may deserve CIP, but do not fall within the medical criteria. For example, if you required inpatient care for 11 days you would not meet the criteria for medical awarding of CIP, but you may still have a serious illness or injury. In such cases employers are allowed to exercise discretion and grant CIP after considering the information provided and the circumstances of the case. It is intended that the granting of CIP on managerial discretion will only be warranted in serious and/or exceptional cases. The decision is the employer’s decision, but the employer can seek guidance from the occupational physician on medical issues.

What must the employer establish in order to grant CIP on their discretion?

In order to grant CIP at their own discretion, the employer must establish: that there are “exceptional circumstances” that those exceptional circumstances relate to the illness, injury or condition of the employee, and that those exceptional circumstances warrant the granting of CIP.

What should the employer consider when establishing these facts?

The employer should consider the following three sources of information: the occupational physician’s report relevant information from the employee, and relevant human resources information and professional judgement.

What happens if I become ill again when I return to school?

If you have an ordinary illness (unrelated to your previous critical illness) within a 12-month period of the date of return to work the CIP will apply.






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