sick leave and medical certificates

Sick Leave - How much sick leave is an employee entitled to, when do you have to provide a medical certificate and what happens when medical certificates are obtained under false circumstances. Do you have to provide a medical certificate if you take sick leave on a Monday and Friday or the day before or after a public holiday?

sick leave & medical certificates

sick leave

How much sick leave is an employee entitled to?
According to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the sick leave cycle is a period of 36 months of continuous employment with the same employer. An employee is entitled to 6 weeks paid sick leave for every 36 months of continuous employment.

An exception to the above rule is that during the first 6 months of employment, an employee is only entitled to one days paid sick leave for every 26 days of work.

medical certificates

What is a medical certificate?

A medical certificate is a document issued by a person who is certified to diagnose and treat patients and who is registered with a professional council.

when may an employer request a medical certificate?

An employer may require a medical certificate and does not have to pay an employee if:
  1. The employee has been absent from work for more than two occasions during an 8 week period.
  2. If on request of the employer the employee is not able to produce a medical certificate stating that the employee was unable to work for the duration of the employees' absence due to sickness or injury.

The employee would have to produce a medical certificate on the third day to receive pay for the 3 days.

medical certificates obtained under false circumstances
 A major cause of frustration for employers is employees abusing sick leave by providing a medical certificate that was obtained under false circumstances in order to take off. Some employees feel that they are entitled to sick leave of 12 days per year and if they have not used these days they start to find ways to take the sick leave.

The CCMA has ruled that a medical certificate that has been obtained under false circumstances to be invalid, meaning that the employer is not obliged to honor the medical certificate and disciplinary action including dismissal may follow.

A valid medical certificate according to the Medical and Dental Professions Board should include the following:

  1. Name, address and qualification of the medical practitioner
  2. Name of the patient
  3. Employment number of the patient
  4. Date and time of the examination
  5. Whether the certificate is issued as a result of personal observation or as a result of information received from the patient
  6. Description of the illness ( the patient may withhold consent to declare illness)
  7. Capacity to which the patient is able to perform duties or perform less strenuous duties.
  8. Exact period of sick leave and date of issuing certificate
  9. Clear identity of the medical practitioner who issued the certificate which must be personally signed by the practitioner.

Where employees visit practitioners on the third day of illness and the doctor completes the sick note ''I was informed of the sickness by the patient'', the employer does not have to accept or honor this certificate, and may regard time taken off as unpaid leave.

It is important to note that only and employee who is genuinely too sick to work, may claim sick leave. If the employer is able to prove that the employee was not sick, disciplinary steps may be taken against the employee.

Absent on a friday or monday or day before or after a public holiday

May an employer require a medical certificate when the employee is absent on a Friday or on a Monday, or the day before or after a public holiday?

The Basic Conditions of Employment state that an employee is allowed to be absent from work for 2 consecutive days or 2 occasions during an 8 week period before having to submit a medical certificate.

In a Monday to Friday job, Saturdays and Sundays are not considered working days. If the employee is absent on a Friday or a Monday, this is considered 2 consecutive days. The employee would have to product a medical certificate if they are absent on the Tuesday as well.

It is important to note that sick leave may not run concurrently with annual leave.

Be ethical and honest when taking sick leave, taking sick leave under false circumstances may lead to an employer taking disciplinary action against an employee and can even result in dismissal.

Author: Kontak Recruitment

Kontak Recruitment is a leading recruitment agency in South Africa

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Sick leave in South Africa
Medical Certificate in South Africa
What is sick leave?

Valid medical certificates?
how much sick leave am I allowed to take?
When can i take sick leave?


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