Doctors in B.C. are once again urging employers to stop asking workers for sick notes, saying they are placing an “unnecessary burden on the health-care system.”

In a statement, Doctors of BC President Dr. Ramneek Dosanjh says with critical staffing shortages already adding to challenges, physicians should be spending their time with “patients who need medical care and attention, not writing sick notes.” The group highlights Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s plea earlier this month, when she urged employers to not require staff to provide a sick note to get back to work or school.

“There is no need – none – for sick notes at this time (during the pandemic),” Health Minister Adrian Dix is also quoted as saying last year.

However, this call could run into some challenges with B.C.’s new paid sick leave program, which guarantees workers five days off if they’re unwell. The program allows employers to ask for “reasonably sufficient proof of illness,” which could prompt businesses to require such notes from a physician.

“Although a long-term solution is needed, employers can do their part now by taking this step to immediately ease pressure on the health care system,” the group, which represents 14,000 physicians, medical residents, and students in the province, says.