As the festive season approaches, we as employers often brace ourselves for mass unplanned absences and sick days from employees.
Recently, Akyra was made aware of a medical certificate ‘subscription’, allowing employees to pay a fee to obtain medical certificates without seeing a doctor.
Further investigation revealed that an employee can receive a medical certificate, for up to a week off work from a growing number of websites, after entering their personal details, ‘symptoms’ and credit card information to purchase a certificate – without a doctor’s consult.
Other sites offer the ability to ‘subscribe’ to request an unlimited number of certificates in a year.
Akyra believes this is an issue of such importance that we are going to investigate it further; raising concerns with appropriate authorities and bodies for misleading conduct as may be appropriate. We have already sought an opinion from our trusted legal Associate, Jeanette Jifkins (Onyx Legal).
IMPLICATIONS FOR EMPLOYERS – WHAT RIGHTS DO THEY HAVE?
S107 of the Fair Work Act (FWA) states that an employer may request evidence for an employee taking a sick day, and that evidence needs to be acceptable to a reasonable person.
Some enterprise agreements or awards may stipulate the type of evidence required, otherwise, an employer is entitled to specify the type of evidence they are prepared to accept – e.g. a medical certificate.
If an employer is provided with a certificate from an online service provider, it is open to the employer, as a reasonable person, whether they will or will not accept this certificate. If it is not accepted, the employer can require the employee to produce a certificate from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
A certificate from an online service provider is really not too much different from receiving an email from an employee saying they are sick where no health practitioner has been consulted.
NEED MORE INFORMATION?
If you are concerned that your employees are using an online service for medical certificates, we encourage you to seek further information about its origins, ensuring it has been issued by a qualified health practitioner, following a doctor’s consult.
Akyra can work with your business to assist and support all your questions and concerns related to sick days and unplanned absences, particularly during the festive season.
If you require advice or assistance, please contact Akyra on 07 3204 8830 or book a free 30-minute consultation, for an obligation-free conversation.
Disclaimer – Reliance on Content
The material distributed is general information only. The information supplied is not and is not intended to be, legal or other professional advice, nor should it be relied upon as such. You should seek legal or professional advice in relation to your specific situation.
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