Are workers too afraid to get medical certificates and take sick days? Are employers too afraid to challenge them?

Are workers too afraid to get medical certificates and take sick days? Are employers too afraid to challenge them?

Every animal gets sick at some point or another, and this is no different when it comes to human beings. Sometimes you get so sick that it’s impractical or downright impossible to travel to work and exert yourself, so you elect to take the day off to stay home and recover. In order to prove to your boss that you were legitimately too sick to come to work, you would want to get a medical certificate online or via your local GP.

How can people get a medical certificate online?

Getting a medical certificate online is something many people may have never known they could do! While it’s still an emerging market in healthcare, telehealth services have enabled people who are sick to get a valid medical certificate without having to leave bed.

This is very advantageous when someone has a severe illness that prevents them from leaving the house, but they still need a medical certificate to show their employer when they return to work. Getting a medical certificate online is also simply more convenient for many people who dislike waiting rooms and dealing with receptionists.

What rights do employees and employers have with regards to medical certificates?

In Australia (and most developed countries), workers are entitled to a reasonable amount of sick leave without fear of it affecting their job in a negative way. For example, it’s illegal for an employer to dismiss or discipline someone just because they took a day off when they were sick.

This is designed to protect people from going to work when they are too ill out of fear of losing their job. As a society, we recognise that it’s better for people to take a short break to recover straight-away, rather than make the illness worse by being stubborn and delaying recovery by going to the office.

However, there comes a point where employers have a right to manage absences and account for them in their planning. This means that if an employee takes a large number of sick days on a routine basis then it would be reasonable for their boss to ask questions about their ability to work, and perhaps correspond with their doctor about a recovery timeframe.

An employer should not second-guess a medical certificate that is presented to them and should accept it as reasonable evidence the employee was too sick to work as determined by a doctor. It is when there is no medical certificate that an employer can begin to become suspicious of dishonesty or abuse of their trust.

When it comes to misuse, employee behaviour can range from seeing a football game when they are meant to be in bed, all the way to working a secondary job during their sick leave. In situations like these, there is a clear violation of trust between the employee and employer and the discovery of this dishonesty would be reasonable grounds for dismissal.

All of this can cause a chilling effect on both sides of the employer/employee divide. Employees can become too afraid to take a sick day they really need, while an employer can be afraid to challenge an employee who’s frequently taking sick days for fear of breaching the law.

As with most things in life, how employers and employees manage sick leave is all about balance and trust. Employees should feel confident in taking time off when they sincerely need it, and employers should feel confident that employees are not taking advantage of their trust.

If you need to speak to a doctor today about a Medical Certificate, login and request a consult on the Instant Consult app.

by Instant Consult