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Don't accept a medical certificate that doesn't meet these five requirements

by , 05 April 2013
Not so long ago, the University of Johannesburg was embroiled in a false sick notes scandal. It emerged that a number of students had submitted forged sick notes to avoid writing their exams on time. These doctors' certificates had false names and false practice numbers. If you think your company is exempt from this, think again. In fact, if you're not vigilant it might already be happening right under your nose. But there are measures you can put in place to prevent this from happening to you. Read on to discover what basic criteria the medical certificates you're presented with must meet.

'You're entitled to receive a medical certificate that meets certain basic criteria as proof that your employee is too sick to be at work, and before you give paid sick leave,' says The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

This means there are certain things you should look for on a medical certificate before you accept it.

Do you know what to look for?

Use this checklist to ensure employee medical certificates are legit

  • The name, address and qualifications of the medical practitioner and the practice number.
  • The employment number of the patient, or another form of clear identification of the patient as your employee.
  • The date and time of the examination.
  • Whether the certificate was issued after the doctor had personally examined the patient.
  • An indication that the doctor is satisfied that the employee was too sick or injured to work for the whole period of absence.

It's advisable that you notify all your employees that you won't accept medical certificates in future unless they meet these basic requirements.

Remember, 'you don't have to accept a certificate that merely states what the patient told the doctor and doesn't reflect that the doctor examined the patient and expressed a professional opinion that he's too sick to work,' advises the Loose Leaf.

Knowing what to look for in medical certificates presented to you will ensure you're not duped by employees who present false sick notes.

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Jenny 2013-08-13 08:17:06

Medical certificates: if a doctor/clinic sister writes "medical condition" on a sick note - is this valid?
Most doctors I know write what the diagnosis is.
Thank you.

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