Faculty and Staff

Support Staff Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ applies to General Illness Leave; when the illness is known initially to be for more than 10 working days or the illness continues for more than 10 working days.

This Frequently Asked Questions Guide is designed to help you understand the process, from the notification stage through to your recovery and return to work.

Who is Homewood Health and what role do they play in my General Illness leave?
Homewood Health Inc. (HHI) is an independent disability management provider that the University of Alberta has partnered with to provide an enhanced level of service for faculty and staff who are dealing with health related issues that may require time off work, or proactively deal with these issues while remaining at work. The goal of the partnership between ODHE and HHI is to support you in identifying the best resources and access to rehabilitative or other services and to assist you in a safe, healthy, productive and sustainable return to work.

What are my responsibilities while on a General Illness Absence?
As per Article 17.10 of the Non-Academic Staff Association Agreement, it is your responsibility to provide proof of illness to Support General Illness Benefits when the illness is known initially to be for more than ten working days, or if the illness continues for more than ten working days.

You are also responsible to be available, to provide updated medical information as required and to regularly communicate with your HSC and your immediate supervisor during the duration of your leave. As soon as it is safe and healthy for you to return to work (based on medical documentation), your HSC will connect you with your ODHE Return to Work Consultant (RTWC) who will assist you and your manager in developing an appropriate return to work plan. Modified work plans are rehabilitative in nature and are valuable as a person moves through their recovery and readiness for regular hours/duties.

For more information please review Support Staff General Illness Roles and Responsibilities on the HRS website.

What information do I need to provide to the Homewood Health HSC?
Fax your completed Medical to Support General Illness Benefits form to Homewood Health. Your physician’s office may fax the Medical to Support Proof of General Illness form directly to HHI at 780-429-1747. As soon as you notify your Supervisor of your absence, he/she will contact HHI and an HSC will contact you. Please note that the University's Information and Privacy Office (IPO) does not recommend that medical information be sent by email. For more information about the risks of sending medical and other personal information by email and the alternative ways of sending information suggested by the IPO, please see Email Best Practices. Please consider these risks and alternatives when you share medical and other personal information in the course of accessing services and resources to assist with your illness, injury or disability.

If I’m charged a fee for form completion from my doctor, will the University of Alberta pay for this?
Yes. As per the Support Staff Collective Agreement, the University of Alberta will cover the costs of the reporting fee for completion of the Medical to Support General Illness Benefits form. Please have your doctor’s office fax their invoice directly to HHI at 780-429-1747.

What are my benefits?
Please see Articles 17.08 through 17.15 of the Non-Academic Staff Association Agreement.

Will my supervisor stay in contact with me while I am off?
Yes. Both your supervisor and HSC are also responsible for regular communication with you. To ensure that you continue to feel connected to the workplace while you are ill/injured, your supervisor will maintain regular communication with you and provide ongoing support during the duration of your leave. For more information please review Supervisor Roles and Responsibilities General Illness on the HRS website.

Who has/keeps my medical information?
HHI will hold all medical information on their secure site and server. These are completely separate from the University of Alberta. HHI meets all provincial and federal privacy legislations for the protection of personal health information.

Does Homewood share medical information with the University of Alberta?
No. Any medical information provided or obtained by HHI concerning your health is strictly confidential and will not be shared with anyone at the University of Alberta, including your manager or Human Resources department. Information will be shared, on a need to know basis, as it pertains to your fitness for work and work related restrictions, and limitations. U of A’s Privacy Office has reviewed the process to ensure compliance with requirements under legislation and University Policy.

What happens if I’m unable to return to work before the maximum General Illness benefit period?
ODHE will initiate the Long Term Disability (LTD) application process 6 weeks prior to the end of your General Illness benefit period and send you the required paperwork. Your HSC will be available to explain the LTD application process. For further information, visit our LTD plan page. 

What will happen to my vacation accrual while I am on General Illness leave?
Whether full time of part time, an employee will continue to earn vacation credits for the first two months of illness/WCB leave. Vacation will no longer accrue after 2 months. Please see Article 16.03 of the Collective Agreement or consult with your Human Resource Advisor if you have further questions.

Are these services available only if I’m off work?
No. If you are at work but have a health issue or injury that is impacting your ability to complete your work duties effectively, an HHI HSC can provide support and assistance to help you proactively deal with these issues while remaining at work. Please visit our Stay at Work page for more information.

How do I access services?
Please visit the HRS website for more information or to access forms or speak with your Manager/Supervisor who can also assist you.

Homewood Health provides Employee & Family Assistance Programs (EFAP) for the University of Alberta. Is there a link between the EFAP and the Case Management Support teams?
No. The Health Support Team is a completely separate division of HHI, with different locations, computer systems, computer servers and staff. There would only be interaction between an EFAP counselor and the HSC with expressed written consent from you.

Who do I contact if I have a concern?

We encourage you to fully discuss any concerns about your absence directly with your HSC or your ODHE RTWC.

For advice and assistance with the process, you may contact your Association, your Human Resource Partner (HR Partner) or your department HR Manager.

If your concerns are not addressed by these means or if you have a concern about the service or program, please contact ODHE at org.health@ualberta.ca