Always get a medical certificate
Always get a medical certificate if you can, then your injury, illness is then evidence based. First things first, if you are taking sick or Carer’s leave, you must notify your employer as soon as possible. It is not necessary that you notify your employer before you start taking leave, but make sure you let them know quickly so they know where you are. You should also let your employer know how long you expect to be off work, so that your employer can plan who will cover your work in your absence.
It all depends on the circumstances, if you wake up with a migraine, then obviously you inform your employer straight way. If its a specialist appointment, with the appointment made well in advance, don’t leave it to the last moment to inform your employer. Some Employers have policies of you must inform then 24 hours before being off, just do the best you can, if you have a car accident on the way to work, its ridiculous to have to inform them the day before, its case by case.
Can my employer ask me for a medical certificate?
Yes, employers are entitled to ask for evidence that the leave was taken legitimately, including after one day or less off work. Evidence of an illness or injury can include a medical certificate or a statutory declaration.
There are no laws applying to all employees about what evidence is required to prove a legitimate absence, but some awards or registered agreements may specify when an employee must provide evidence and what evidence they must provide.
What happens if I do not provide a medical certificate?
If your employer asked you for a medical certificate and you do not provide one, you may lose your entitlement to be paid for your sick leave.
Technically, you may also be subjected to disciplinary action or be sacked for your failure to comply with a lawful and reasonable direction. In any event, it would be harsh for your employer to sack you just because you did not provide a medical certificate, especially where you may have reasonable circumstances. It will ultimately depend on your employment record, the duration of your absence, and the reason for your absence, as to how harsh it is for your employer to sack you for not providing a medical certificate. However, the final answer is yes, your employer can sack you for not providing a medical certificate.
Employer want to know what’s wrong with me.
There is no absolute right to the employer having to know what’s wrong with you, sometimes the reason your ill, can be very personal, or very serious in nature. You may worry the employer will tell others. (mental illness, early stages of pregnancy, injuries from domestic violence, getting results from test for cancer, etc.). However the longer your not attending work, the more the employer is entitled to make enquiries as to what’s going on. You don’t want to find that you end up dismissed over miscommunication over something that could have been avoided.
Employees starting asking anyway, what’s happened to you, plus they might start getting cranky, others are picking up your work load and want to know why, managing these absences can be difficult. It can be too much information, allowing the employer to form the view your too injured or your simply not coming back and just using up sick leave or organizing your next job. Or too little information and the employer feels mislead, uninformed and starts jumping to conclusions
What if my employer is being unreasonable?
As stated above, your employer is entitled to request evidence of your absence if you wish to be paid for your leave. However, if your employer goes beyond this, they may not be acting reasonably. For example, this may include where your employer demands to attend your medical appointment with you, or your employer contacts your doctor for further information about your condition. In some cases the employer rings your partner, children, parents wanting to know what’s really going on.
Be careful they are just wolves’ in lambs clothing as the saying goes. In either of these cases, it may be argued that your employer is discriminating against you on the basis of disability, and you may have a General Protections (adverse action by your employer) case, or a bullying complaint if the behaviour continues. You may also be able to take your issue to the Fair work Commission, in several forms.
I hope you enjoyed “Medical certificate Dismissed for not providing one?”, and it was helpful, being sick is stressful. Your always welcome to give us a call, we at A Whole New Approach P/L, are not lawyers, but experienced workplace advisors, we have been presenting employees since 2004, whether it is a unfair dismissal, general protections, an investigation, redundancy, all Fair work Australia issues, whatever, we are happy to give free advice 1800 333 666 call now.
An article that may be of interest to you, “sick leave, a workplace guide”, click here
One of the nations leading workplace advisors, representatives and commentators. Gary has represented some 12,000 clients over some 20 plus years, published some 300 plus articles. He is passionate about employees rights and the test of fairness in the workplace. Have a problem, concern, wants to contribute to the debate or research, call him directly.