Unexpected “sickies”

TAPSWith the recent additional public holiday for the Queen’s National Day of Mourning, we have the unusual circumstance of having multiple public holidays in a condensed period of time.

Victorians have recently enjoyed a four-day long weekend because of the Queen’s National Day of Mourning and the AFL Grand Final.

One issue that employers might face during this time is managing unexpected sick days taken before and/or after public holidays. 

Employees who do not have annual leave approved around this period may have the temptation to call into work sick.

If an employee does call in sick, can the employer request evidence from the employee? 

The answer is yes.

Employers can ask employees to provide evidence for as little as one day or less off work.

What type of evidence can you request?

Medical certificates or statutory declarations are examples of acceptable forms of evidence. 

While there are no strict rules on what type of evidence needs to be given, the evidence has to convince a reasonable person that the employee was genuinely entitled to the sick leave.

An award or registered agreement can also specify when an employee has to give evidence to their employer, and what type of evidence they have to give. The type of evidence requested must always be reasonable in the circumstances.

An employee who doesn’t give their employer evidence when asked may not be entitled to be paid for their sick leave.

Now that we know the law, here are our recommendations:

  • Communicate to your employee about the upcoming public holidays and that attendance is required as usual on normal working days.
  • Discuss the opportunities to take annual leave if they would like a long getaway (now that borders domestically and internationally have reopened).

If an employee does calls in sick, clearly communicate to the employee that you would like a medical certificate or evidence.

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