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Confused about sick leave? You'll have to accept those sangoma sick notes or face the Labour Court!

by , 25 March 2013
Marikana's strike action made headlines again in March. This time the sangoma believed to have performed rituals on the Lonmin mine strikers has been shot dead. But more than the strike violence aspect, businesses are focusing on the fact that sangomas have been excluded from the rest of the medical professional until now - but a ruling from the Labour Appeal Court is set to change things. 'Companies cannot only accept certificates from medical doctors when we live in a diversified society,' says Black Business Council president Ndaba Ntsele. But you shouldn't leave your company open to sick leave abuse...

Up to now, sangomas or traditional healers haven't been seen as on the same standing as the rest of the medical profession, says iAfrica.
So receiving a sick note from a sangoma tends to send businesses into a spin.
'You could spend up to 15 minutes checking the Department of Labour's but giving up as there's just too much information and it's all very confusing', says the Labour Bulletin.
Well, wonder no more. 
A land of many cultures must accept sick notes from a variety of medical practitioners – even sangomas
A sangoma 'sick note' case went to the Labour Appeal Court late last year following a 'substantively unfair' Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) finding regarding unpaid leave and a sick note from a traditional healer, says the Business Report.
The result?
Employees may, in future, produce sick notes from sangomas, following a Labour Appeal Court ruling.
Because South Africa is 'a land of many cultures, so traditional Western culture can't be allowed to dominate the African culture of many of the country's inhabitants', says News24
This means you'll have to accept sick notes from traditional healers, even if the reason for the sick leave is that the employee has been 'tormented by her ancestors'.
But if you suspect your employee is abusing his sick leave, you're entitled to conduct investigations, request proof and discipline him if you find he's been absent without an acceptable reason, explains The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service
Three ways to cut down in sick leave abuse in your company today!
Just make sure your company's sick leave policy is clear on how many days are allowed and when a sick note will be required – sometimes that's all it takes to prevent sick leave abuse.
Then, all you need to do is analyse leave patterns for sick leave abuse, says FSP Business.
The Labour Bulletin suggests you also check all the medical certificates your employees bring in, as this will send the message across that your company's sick leave policy is strict and set in stone, so employees will be less likely to take advantage of it.
Implement these three steps to cut down on sick leave abuse in your company today.

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Confused about sick leave? You'll have to accept those sangoma sick notes or face the Labour Court!
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