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Grappling with tricky sick leave situations? Read this!

by , 28 May 2013
In China, a woman has lost her job for violating the company's terms of employment. The reason? She asked for sick leave while pregnant and then went on a business trip with her husband, as 'there was no one to take care of her if she stayed home'. Here's what to do whenever your employees claim sick leave ...

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A woman was fired for accompanying her husband on a business trip while she was on sick leave last year. 
She stayed in the hotel during the trip, but the company terminated her contract when they found she'd bought plane tickets for the trip one month before, 'meaning she had intended to take a holiday all along,' says English.Eastday
And sick leave's an area where employees take advantage around the world, staying home 'sick' as often as they're allowed.
That's why you 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, says FSPBusiness.
You'll need to make it clear that the right to paid sick leave accrues only when the employee can't work because of incapacity, which means the inability to work because of sickness or injury, says The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf.
Don't just ask for a medical certificate when you're employee claims sick leave: Check he really was too sick to work!
If you want proof of this, ask your employee for a medical certificate, then check that it states your employee was unable to work for the duration of his absence because of a specific sickness or injury.
This means a mild, non-contagious rash or headache usually aren't good enough reasons to apply for a day's sick leave.
One situation your employee CAN'T take sick leave – when he's already on annual leave
Added to this, The Basic Conditions of Employment Act or BCEA says an employee can't take annual leave while on sick leave
So if your employee falls ill while on annual leave, he can't suddenly claim those days back as sick leave, as he isn't supposed to work when he's on annual leave anyway.
Don't forget that sick leave's the only form of leave your employee's entitled to in his notice period!
And remember that sick leave is the only type of leave your employee's entitled to claim during his notice month once he's resigned, but it's still a good idea to ask for a medical certificate to prove the employee really was too ill to work during this time off work. 

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