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What is considered sick leave abuse

You have to take care of yourself. Sick? Injured? You’re entitled to time to recover. If you have accrued sick leave you are entitled to be paid for it. Don’t be harassed into returning early to work. You have rights. Please read on.

What is considered sick leave abuse

What is considered sick leave abuse has become a real issue in the last few months. Of course, employers are never happy when you take sick leave. They never have been. They think you have to be committed like they are, which is seven days a week of course. However with the current issue of employees being off on sick leave due to enforced isolation through the COVID-19 rule and enforcement. Having COVID-19 itself and the mental effects of isolation and stress caused by two years of the pandemic and heading into year three. Calls have tripled regarding employees being unfairly treated and abused regarding absenteeism and sick leave-related issues.

Uncaring employees taking advantage of you

Abuse of sick leave refers to employees who, over a period of time, have “gamed” the employer’s attendance policy. The exploitation of sick leave policy may range from employees not calling in or not showing up for their shifts, exhausting their available leave every month, and requesting extra time off when well.

Every time there is extra work to be done, knowing it’s going to be a busy day tomorrow, surprisingly employees are then sick, this places an extra burden on existing staff to carry the extra work. Also in these days of austerity, companies do not have any spare labor and it falls to existing staff to do the work. Doctors’ certificates, particularly around the issues of mental health, bullying are more common than 20 years ago.

All employees have rights, it’s how you excise them is the key. Don’t be dismissed. You have a right to time of on sick leave both paid and unpaid. However the longer your off the more it becomes a issue. This applies to return to work programs as well.

Schemes and abuse by employers

This occurs obviously when the employee in the view of the employer is gaming, lying, or taking advantage of the employer, the following are examples.

  1. Insist on doctors’ certificates every time the employee is away, even for part days to attend appointments.
  2. The employer insists they accompany the employee to the doctor’s and want to meet with the doctor to discuss the illness or injury.
  3. Want to conduct their own assessment in the workplace regarding your injury and ability to perform your duties.
  4. Employers want to get their doctors to examine you, they want access to your medical records.
  5. Constantly tell you you’re not injured, you’re just lazy, just get over it, it’s all in your head, you’re letting the team down, you’re not loyal to the company
  6. Encourages co-workers to bully you, say there’s nothing wrong with you, we are stuck with doing your work while you are away, probably have a good time or rest.
  7. Start giving you menial tasks, stripping away your substantive role, and setting triggers to make you resign.
  8. Isolate you from others, indicate to you there is no future, no promotion, and we don’t know why you’re still here.

How Employers React to employees taking sick leave

The list is not exhaustive, but given the number of calls and emails we receive, daily, and weekly, there is some consistency in how some employers react to sick leave. There are many successful employers out there who clearly adhere to extreme lengths, far exceeding legal obligations. At A Whole New Approach, we are devoted to bad employers who are all about themselves, their employees, and profits. Dismissals are common. This is despite evidence showing that if you allow a workforce to be healthy, recover, get fit, and have EAP (Employee assistance programs) in place, productivity will increase.

Thankfully, programs to increase the wellbeing of workers have been found to provide significant returns. The Australian Government states that for every dollar invested in the health of workers, on average $5.81 for will be returned in savings.

 Eoghan Mackenna exercise physiologist and director of occupational health specialists, Logic Health,
Doctor writing a report. You do not have to tell your employer everything relating to your injury or illness. However they are entitled to know enough as to why your not at work. The longer your away the more details they may seek from you.

Sick leave abuse, where to from here

Absenteeism and poor performance are without a doubt two of the most challenging employment management issues that employers struggle with on a continuous basis. Employers become despondent about the impact on productivity and service levels, and increasingly frustrated with employees who are unreliable and cannot be trusted to deliver. Looking for a quick fix when reaching the point where frustration levels become intolerable, is not the answer.   

Judith Griessel Labour Law Specialist, Legal Consultant and Accredited Mediator

You can see from the above statement the appalling stance employers are taking and their advisors are stating. So you can see now why employees Google “what is considered sick leave abuse”. Researching sick leave abuse employers are advised by their representatives to:

A) Look for the lies the employees are giving for the reasons for being ill.

B) Look for the patterns of the days employees are off.

C) Closely monitor the employee.

D) Consider mentioning to the employee that your thinking about hiring a replacement

E) Longer term ill or injured employees considering terminating them.

F) Document missing days

G) Monitor the employee’s social media, see that they’re doing after hours

H) Closely examine the medical certificates, that have been tampered with, date changes, and different doctors used.

Some employers don’t have a caring bone in their body

It’s not just the employer’s advice, it’s the tenor of the advice, not a caring bone in the employer’s body. Employee dismissal is an answer to every problem. Why not find out what’s really wrong before commencing these bullying, heavy-handed actions? Is there anything wrong with finding out that the employee of 20 years of service? Who may have cancer, heart complaints, their partner has dementia and need care or be taken to the appointment? Is the workplace culture that toxic that nobody can take 10 minutes out of their day and find out what’s wrong? Understand the status of the employee.

Equally, though employees have to give a bit, participate, and give the employer the required feedback, many employees indicate it’s their right not to inform the employer what’s wrong with them. That it’s a matter of privacy, they worry about what colleagues will think (I see this, particularly around mental health issues) There’s that old saying “Sometimes you have to give a little bit, to get a lot”. Yes, employees have rights, but avoiding that dismissal is important as well. It can be a fine balance regarding privacy issues.

Medical-certificate,-Dismissed-for-not-having-one. -What-is-considered-sick-leave-abuse.
Medical certificate. Dismissed for not having one is common. Keep your employer informed where you are and where your at. You want the employer to keep the job open for you.

Abused and general protections

If you get abused, you can lodge what’s referred to as a general protection F8C application. In turn, the issues go before a member of the Fair Work Commission to sort out in the first instance. If you are terminated or sacked you can lodge an unlawful dismissal claim F8. or an unfair dismissal claim F2. Be there are strict timelines around lodgments. You are welcome to call us and get advice on these processes. Being injured or ill is tough enough without the tactics and carrying on of the employer. Do not suffer in silence, you do have rights.

Stress Leave

Stress leave from work, sometimes referred to as “mental health leave”, is a period during which an employee takes a break from their job due to work-related stress or other mental health issues. While stress is a natural response to challenging situations, chronic stress can have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. You need time to recover.

When this stress becomes unmanageable and begins to affect an individual’s ability to perform his or her job efficiently, it may be time to consider taking leave. This is an entitlement, don’t let anybody say otherwise. Depression, anxiety and related issues are serious concerns in todays society. Get the support of your doctor and take what time you need to recover. Working from home is a option particularly now we are in the post pandamic era. If your unlawfully dismissed for this call us immediately.

Conclusion “what is considered sick leave abuse”

I hope you have found the article informative. We are A Whole New Approach, we are workplace representatives and advisors. We are not lawyers. AWNA are at the cutting edge of commentary (look at the blogs, we have written). Fair Work Commission decision analysis and debate. Anything to do with Fair Work Australia, the workplace, we are here for you. Unfair dismissal, general protections, workplace investigations, worker’s rights, employment rights, probation issues. We work in all states, Victoria, NSW, QLD, SA, Tas, WA, NT

Call us for free, prompt, honest advice at 1800 333 666

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