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When an employee runs out of sick leave, can he use his annual leave for when he's sick or injured and unable to work?

by , 17 July 2015
Sometimes, an employee might run out of sick leave and then become unfit to work. He might fall ill with the flu, or something more serious like bronchitis. Or he might even be injured as a result of a car accident.

In such a case, the employee will probably go see his doctor. And, as a result, be booked off. But what now? He's exhausted all of his sick leave, and has now been booked off?

Most employees know that in a case like this, they're not entitled to paid sick leave. Not if they have no more sick leave remaining. But say the employee who's been booked off asks for this leave to come out of his annual leave.

Is this allowed? Can he use his annual leave for this? Read on to find out.

Determine if the employee was really unfit to work
As the employer, it's your duty to do a bit of investigating. Firstly, I'd recommend finding out how sick the employee was when he missed work. Was he really too sick to work?
 
He knew that he had no sick leave left. So if he wasn't that sick (or injured), he could've come in. Ask him about it. Also, ensure his sick note states that his doctor deemed him unfit to work.
 
If you find out that the employee was really in no condition to come to work, it'd be fair to be lenient. But it's still your decision…
 
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You can decide whether or not to let the employee use annual leave as sick leave
You can choose to let the employee some annual leave for the days he was off sick. If you do allow this, make sure you note it down.
 
If you don't want to or can't allow this, that's your call too. You don't have to. The bottom line is, once an employee has exhausted sick leave, any days he takes off sick thereafter are unpaid. Having a sick note won't make any difference.


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