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Are your employees playing with their sick leave?

by , 15 May 2013
Do your employees grumble that they're only entitled to 30 days' sick leave in a three-year or 36-month cycle? It's more than they'd get in the US, which is usually more lenient than SA. Here's what your employees are entitled to when it comes to sick leave, and what to do to ensure they're not taking advantage...

 
In the US, employers with fewer than 50 employees can terminate the services of someone who doesn't show up for work, for whatever reasons – sick or not, says Health24.
 
Now, new legislation in New York City will mean companies with 20 or more employees have to provide them with five days of paid sick leave per year from 1 April 2014, says ChelseaNow.
 
Before this, many went to work sick, which can cause more problems.
 
Cut down on presenteeism to ensure your sick employee doesn't affect the business!
 
Known as 'presenteeism', this actually costs companies up to four times more than absenteeism, says FSPBusiness.
 
But it's not just the risk of infecting other employees that makes presenteeism such a problem. It also leads to your sick employee producing lower quality products, giving poor customer service and taking longer to complete a task.
 
That's why your employee's entitled to sick leave and you should encourage him to stay home until he's well, says Health24.
 
But you still need to make sure your employees are absolutely clear on your company sick leave policy and what the Department of Labour states about sick leave, to ensure that they don't take advantage.
 
For example, if your employee exceeds the set number of days allowed in a sick-leave cycle, you're entitled to deduct those days from his annual leave.
 
Added to this, an employee's only allowed one day's paid sick leave for every 26 days that he's worked in his first six months at a job.
 
Another common area of confusion is when to produce a sick note or medical certificate.
 
Here's what you need to know about medical certificates or 'sick notes'…
 
Most employers insist on a sick note if an employee's absent for more than two consecutive days, or if he's sick more than once in an eight week cycle, says Health24.
 
But it's good practice to insist on a sick note every time your employee stays home sick, just to ensure he's not taking advantage and really is sick.
 
Because if the employee doesn't give a sick note when you ask for one, you don't have to pay him for the sick leave, says Lizle Louw, Editor in Chief of The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf on FSP Business.
 
Make sure your employees are clear on your sick leave policy to avoid any confusion down the line.
 

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