MANAGING SICK LEAVE – FAQ’S

Posted on Posted in ACCOUNTCOM

With the cold and flu season approaching us, the potential impacts on your business with staff and/or families being struck down with the dreaded flu or other illnesses can be great. How you manage leave is important as it protects you as well as your employees when and if the situation arises.

Sick leave for a full time or permanent part time employee can be taken when an employee is ill or injured, this can include both paid and unpaid leave. Carer’s leave allows employees to take time off when they have to fulfil caring responsibilities or family emergencies. Carer’s leave is also taken from the employees’ personal leave balance.

PayCom have put together a list of popular Q&A’s that we have encountered whilst providing advice to our clients.

I had a staff member take carer’s leave as he had to look after a sick grandparent. Is this situation covered?

Yes. Immediate family members or household members include:

Spouse or former spouse
De facto partner or former de facto partner
Child
Parent
Grandparent
Grandchild
Sibling
Child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee’s spouse or de facto partner (or former spouse or de facto partner)
One of my long-term employees has over 100 hours of sick leave accumulated and has asked if he can cash this out, is this allowed?

Most awards don’t allow sick and carer’s leave to be cashed out, however employees covered by a registered agreement can cash out leave if it allows it. Only 3 awards allow employees to cash out personal leave, these are:

Timber Award
Black Coal Award
Stevedoring Award
There are certain conditions that must be met if it is allowed on an award or registered agreement.

See http://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/sick-and-carers-leave/paid-sick-and-carers-leave/cashing-out-sick-and-carers-leave

An employee of mine has taken off the last 2 Monday’s, can I ask for a certificate?

Yes. You can ask for supporting documentation, even if the employee has been off work for 1 day. Acceptable forms of documentation can include a doctor’s certificate or statutory declarations.

Whilst there are no strict rules on what type of evidence needs to be given, the evidence has to convince the employer that the employee was genuinely entitled to take sick or carer’s leave.

I have a staff member who hasn’t stopped coughing in the office and people are starting to complain, can I send the person home?

Employers have a duty of care under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) (“WHS Act”) to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers.

In these circumstances, if an employer reasonably suspects that the employee is posing a health risk to other employees, for example, if the employee has signs of a contagious disease such as chicken pox, the employer may consider it necessary to ask the employee to obtain a medical certificate indicating whether or not the employee is fit for work. If you feel that the employee may be contagious, you can ask them to get a clearance from a doctor.

An employee of mine was ill and went to the doctor who provided a doctor’s certificate for the period (example) 1st January to 10th January, however the employee was feeling better and wanted to come back to work on the 6th January. Where do I stand in regards to this?

If an employee does not wish to take the entirety of the leave stated on the doctor’s certificate, the employee must obtain a clearance from the treating doctor for the person to return to work earlier.

A staff member who was on Annual Leave fell sick. She has provided a medical certificate for the time she was ill on her holidays, do I need to adjust her leave?

Yes. If the employee has provided a medical certificate for leave during her annual leave, you will need to adjust her records to reflect this. (change her annual leave to sick leave so the employee is credited back annual leave credits for the time they were ill and covered by the medical certificate).

I employ full time shift workers and one of my employees took the week off. Will they receive their penalty rate allowance that they would normally get?

No. Sick and carer’s leave is paid at an employee’s base pay rate.

If you need assistance, please contact PayCom who are happy to help. (02) 49344662.

 

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