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Put a stop to sick leave abuse: Ask these seven questions when your employee returns to work

by , 15 April 2014
You've noticed that Johnny in accounts is constantly taking sick leave. His absence is costing you a lot of money since every time he's off you have to pay a temp worker to fill the gap. The good news is, asking Johnny these questions when he returns to work will help you deal with his sick leave abuse problem.


In 2014 you will contribute to R19 billion spent in sick leave!

Sounds impossible, I know. I didn't believe it either. But R19 billion is what sick leave costs South African companies a year. This is equal to the amount medical aids paid to suppliers in 2010.

And did you know R57million of that is from employees taking 'sick days' off purely because they just didn't feel like coming in to work?

Stop your employees abusing sick leave today! Our experts will show you how…


A Return to Work Interview is your best weapon against sick leave abuse

By introducing a return to work interview process, you can manage sick leave abuse in your company.

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service says it's been proven that a return to work interview is the single biggest deterrent against the abuse of sick leave.

The reason?

It's a 'visible' form of managing or 'policing' the problem. It acts as an early detector of anyone possibly abusing their sick leave.

'Employees become aware that you're watching how many days they're away for and how often they're taking sick leave,' adds the Loose Leaf Service.

So what should you ask your employee when he returns to work?


Here's how to say 'you're fired!' the legal way!


When your employee returns from sick leave, ask him these seven questions

  1. Ask your employee if he has fully recovered to resume normal duties? If he says no, ask him when he'll be fit.
  2. Ask your employee about the nature of the absence and illness.
  3. Ask your employee if he wants to be referred to the company doctor.
  4. Ask for a medical certificate and check if it's valid.
  5. Ask your employee if he contacted his medical practitioner on the first day of absence? If not, ask why. If he says yes, ask if medication was prescribed.
  6. If medication was prescribed, ask your employee if there are any dangers you need to know about with regards to him taking it. E.G. Will they make him drowsy or unable to operate heavy machinery.
  7. Ask your employee if he foresees being ill in the near future for reasons relating to the current absence or if he'll need more treatment.

Sick leave abuse is rife in SA. Deal with it by introducing a return to work interview process. And make sure your employee know that you're watching him.

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