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Midavalo
23-02-2012, 07:52 AM
Hi all :)

I'm wanting to find some clarification around the law regarding taking sick leave and being asked for a medical certificate (and how weekends affect that). If I take sick leave on a Friday and then on a Monday (and have the weekend in between) I understand that I can be asked for a medical certificate as effectively I've been sick for 4 calendar days (this lines up with the law as I read it).

But what if I take sick leave on Thursday and Friday (then the weekend) and am back at work on Monday? The law doesn't seem to be clear on that, and neither are the guidelines from the Department of Labour:
The three consecutive days canít be interrupted by a scheduled break. For example, if an employee takes a dayís sick leave on a Tuesday, then has a one-day scheduled break on the Wednesday and another dayís sick leave on Thursday, the employee can be asked to provide proof of the sickness or injury even though the Thursday is only the second day of sick leave.
The three calendar days are not interrupted by a scheduled break. Therefore, an employee taking a day's sick leave on a Friday, then a two-day scheduled weekend break, can be asked to provide proof of the illness or injury if they take another day's sick leave on the Monday, even if that day is only the second day of sick leave. I'm not interrupting the sick leave with the scheduled break, it just happens to follow the sick leave. My employer obviously sees this differently. But I can't find anything that specifically spells out this situation one way or the other.

Does anyone know of somewhere this is spelled out? Or are there any employment lawyers reading this :D

I don't mind going to the doctor to get the certificate, I would just rather work paid for it :)

Cheers,
M.

wainuitech
23-02-2012, 08:07 AM
One thing that is not to clear, you mentioned
I take sick leave on Thursday and Friday (then the weekend) and am back at work on Monday Are you meant to work on Saturday or Sunday ? If Not, then you only actually had two days off.

Midavalo
23-02-2012, 08:12 AM
One thing that is not to clear, you mentioned Are you meant to work on Saturday or Sunday ? If Not, then you only actually had two days off.No I don't work Sat/Sun.

I also think I only had two days off, but work says its technically 4 consecutive days, and therefore they can request a doctors certificate. I'm trying to find whether they're correct or not. And prove it.

Cheers
M.

gary67
23-02-2012, 08:27 AM
Ask the citizens advice people

paulw
23-02-2012, 08:53 AM
I remember when back last century when I worked for the NZ Post office . If you were off sick over a weekend they would count that as 4 sick days as you were paid over a 7 day week period not 5 days..

dugimodo
23-02-2012, 08:58 AM
Also check your employment contract my work can request a doctors certificate for any sick leave according to mine, although it's at the managers discretion and they rarely enforce it. One of my previous employers regarded any monday illness as suspicious and reserved the right to ask for a doctors certificate if they decided to.

Something that bugs me with sick leave (excuse the pun), when you get a bad cold or a case of the flu it can take days to feel better but there's no real need to see a doctor. "Experts" generally say you shouldn't go to work but the hassle of medical certificates and using up all your sick leave means you usually end up working at least a few days while sick. One good cold could easily burn up my years sick leave if I waited until I was over it.

Midavalo
23-02-2012, 09:55 AM
My employment contract doesn't spell it out any clearer unfortunately :(

I have contact Citizens Advice, waiting to hear back from them. Our HR department has stopped replying to my emails it seems.

1101
23-02-2012, 10:10 AM
lots of info here, yes its 3 CALENDER days.
http://www.acepay.co.nz/faq049.htm

http://www.dol.govt.nz/infozone/myfirstjob/employees/holidays-and-leave/sick-leave.asp

http://www.unite.org.nz/sick_leave
After April 1st 2011 an employer can ask for a certificate even on the first day even without having any reason to believe the illness is faked.
Where a certificate is required before three days the employer - not the worker - must pay or reimburse all reasonable medical costs. This will still be the case after 1st April 2011.

Gobe1
23-02-2012, 10:32 AM
No I don't work Sat/Sun.

I also think I only had two days off, but work says its technically 4 consecutive days, and therefore they can request a doctors certificate. I'm trying to find whether they're correct or not. And prove it.

Cheers
M.

I would call there bluff on this one, and keep seeking the answers you require from the CAB

EDIT: do you have a history of doing this regularly etc may come in to play. you dont have to tell us this. that is your business

Bobh
23-02-2012, 10:51 AM
I remember when back last century when I worked for the NZ Post office . If you were off sick over a weekend they would count that as 4 sick days as you were paid over a 7 day week period not 5 days..
I am sure it was the same situation when I was in the Army. We were on a salary rather than being paid by the hour. We were paid 7 days a week and 24 hours a day meaning that we could be called onto duty at any time. When you took annual leave you only had week days deducted. Weekends and statutory holidays were not deducted. Not sure but sick leave may have followed similar lines.

WalOne
23-02-2012, 11:02 AM
No I don't work Sat/Sun.

I also think I only had two days off, but work says its technically 4 consecutive days, and therefore they can request a doctors certificate. I'm trying to find whether they're correct or not. And prove it.

Cheers
M.

That's fair enough in my book. If you're having to take time off on Friday and Monday, then it really is safe to assume the illness includes the weekend. But too many employees use that as a way of having four days off in a row.

But then I personally wouldn't know. I've been self employed for most of the last 30 years, and when you have any indisposition, if you can live with it, you just shrug your shoulders, say what the heck. And keep on working through.

The self employed just can't afford to take the time off. And a lot of employers (save the major corporates or government sector) just can't afford to pay for employee time off, either.

If the illness is selective, then it's as close to being theft as pocketing petty cash, stealing stationery, and overstating time spent..

:2cents:

Iantech
23-02-2012, 11:10 AM
Interesting discussion. Like yourself, I think it is only 2 days off. Your weekend is your time, it is of no concern to your work and your work are not paying you for the weekend. If your work is claiming it is 4 days sick, are they paying you 4 days sick leave? If not, it is of no concern to them what you do or what happens in the weekend is it? Reality is (even if you were sick) on Thurs & Fri, you may be fine Sat onwards, why are they claiming 4 days suggesting you were sick Sat & Sun when they dont know.

Anyway, my thoughts are that its 2 days like WT. They arent paying you for the weekend, your weekend is your time.
I will be interested in hearing the outcome. Good luck.

pctek
23-02-2012, 12:29 PM
But what if I take sick leave on Thursday and Friday (then the weekend) and am back at work on Monday? The law doesn't seem to be clear on that, and neither are the guidelines from the Department of Labour: I'm not interrupting the sick leave with the scheduled break, it just happens to follow the sick leave. My employer obviously sees this differently. But I can't find anything that specifically spells out this situation one way or the other.
.

It's perfectly clear:

The three calendar days are not interrupted by a scheduled break. Therefore, an employee taking a day's sick leave on a Friday, then a two-day scheduled weekend break, can be asked to provide proof of the illness or injury if they take another day's sick leave on the Monday, even if that day is only the second day of sick leave.

So, regardless of weekends after your sick days, public holidays after your sick days - whatever - they can ask for the certificate.

Think of it like this - away from work for 3 days in total - sick, holiday, weekend, whatever those 3 days consist of - you have to provide the certificate.

Can't be any clearer than that.

WalOne
23-02-2012, 12:57 PM
It's perfectly clear:

The three calendar days are not interrupted by a scheduled break. Therefore, an employee taking a day's sick leave on a Friday, then a two-day scheduled weekend break, can be asked to provide proof of the illness or injury if they take another day's sick leave on the Monday, even if that day is only the second day of sick leave.

So, regardless of weekends after your sick days, public holidays after your sick days - whatever - they can ask for the certificate.

Think of it like this - away from work for 3 days in total - sick, holiday, weekend, whatever those 3 days consist of - you have to provide the certificate.

Can't be any clearer than that.

Absolutely, pctek! :thumbs:

One of the reasons for this legislation is unfortunately the majority ignored some of their moral and ethical obligations, just going ahead and "pulling sickies" as and when they felt like it. At great cost to their employer and the nation.

Midavalo
23-02-2012, 01:13 PM
It's perfectly clear:

The three calendar days are not interrupted by a scheduled break. Therefore, an employee taking a day's sick leave on a Friday, then a two-day scheduled weekend break, can be asked to provide proof of the illness or injury if they take another day's sick leave on the Monday, even if that day is only the second day of sick leave.

So, regardless of weekends after your sick days, public holidays after your sick days - whatever - they can ask for the certificate.

Think of it like this - away from work for 3 days in total - sick, holiday, weekend, whatever those 3 days consist of - you have to provide the certificate.

Can't be any clearer than that.The examples given always talk about another sick day taken AFTER the scheduled break. Friday sick, then Sat/Sun scheduled break, then Monday sick = effectively 4 days sick, so can ask for certificate (I have no problem with that). But if I take Thursday Friday sick then have my scheduled break this break isn't in between sick days, therefore I am asking for two calendar days off as sick days.

Midavalo
23-02-2012, 01:15 PM
The Act says:
68 Proof of sickness or injury
(1) An employer may require an employee to produce proof of sickness or injury for sick leave taken under section 65 if the sickness or injury that gave rise to the leave is for a period of 3 or more consecutive calendar days, whether or not the days would otherwise be working days for the employeeTo me the sickness/injury that gave rise to the leave was not for a period of 3 or more consecutive calendar days. I just happened to have a weekend occur after my sick leave.

DeSade
23-02-2012, 01:17 PM
Midavalo you are correct.
This is counted as 2 days and if your employer wants a Medical certificate they can request one at their cost.

Iantech
23-02-2012, 01:52 PM
It's perfectly clear:

The three calendar days are not interrupted by a scheduled break. Therefore, an employee taking a day's sick leave on a Friday, then a two-day scheduled weekend break, can be asked to provide proof of the illness or injury if they take another day's sick leave on the Monday, even if that day is only the second day of sick leave.

So, regardless of weekends after your sick days, public holidays after your sick days - whatever - they can ask for the certificate.

Think of it like this - away from work for 3 days in total - sick, holiday, weekend, whatever those 3 days consist of - you have to provide the certificate.

Can't be any clearer than that.The three calendar days are not interrupted by a scheduled break. Therefore, an employee taking a day's sick leave on a Friday, then a two-day scheduled weekend break... Hold on right there, didnt you just say if the three calendar days are not interupted by a sheduled break and in the same line state a sheduled weekend break? If the weekend is a sheduled break, then isnt it interupting the three calendar days? You have me confused.

away from work for 3 days in total - sick, holiday, weekend, whatever those 3 days consist of - you have to provide the certificate. Must have been lots of certificates made out the other week for the long weekend then.

Midavalo
23-02-2012, 04:16 PM
Well, CAB say that my employer has it right... if so then the Dept of Labour guidelines are not clear. It still doesn't make sense to me.

DeSade
23-02-2012, 04:19 PM
I don't think CAB is correct.
Recommend you call the Department of Labour get them to explain their site.

http://www.dol.govt.nz/contact/index.asp

Gobe1
23-02-2012, 04:33 PM
Well, CAB say that my employer has it right... if so then the Dept of Labour guidelines are not clear. It still doesn't make sense to me.

Our HR here said the same thing. didnt think of asking them earlier... looks like you are SOOL

Marnie
23-02-2012, 04:37 PM
More years ago than I care to remember we had the same scenario at work. The interpretation then was as vague as it is in your case, Midavalo. Maybe they use the same wording as was used back then. Only the archives would be able to clarify that.

Our gripe was that if it applied to sick leave then it should also apply to annual leave. Which, of course, it never did. However the Department of Labour interpret it, then it is obvious that good plain English should be used and it should be clearly worded to avoid any misunderstanding.

gary67
23-02-2012, 07:13 PM
Two things if they are going to count the weekend which you say you don't work, ask them to pay you sick leave for those 2 days (Sat, Sun) and you will provide one and the other thing SWMBO says the law is going to change sometime soon saying you need a Dr cert for any day off sick but that law is not in yet

Midavalo
23-02-2012, 07:16 PM
Thanks for all the input :) The CAB agrees with what work say (apparently they asked the Employment Relation Authority or somewhere), and so does a lawyer friend of mine. I do think its a bit vague and quite unfair, but I'll live with it I guess.

Cheers

Iantech
23-02-2012, 08:13 PM
I agree with Gary, unless they are paying you for the weekend, then the weekend has naught to do with work. Midavalo, I would be inclined to get clarification from either the labour dept and if no joy there, go see your local MP and put it to them (if they are any good). Having Thursday and Friday off is 2 days, not 3 or 4 days just because it is close to the weekend, 2 days is 2 days, it wouldnt matter if it was a monday or tuesday, its still only 2 days.

WalOne
23-02-2012, 08:55 PM
Ask the citizens advice people

and


Well, CAB say that my employer has it right... if so then the Dept of Labour guidelines are not clear. It still doesn't make sense to me.

Don't forget in the main that the CAB are mainly a group of well-meaning lay people, often with little formal training or qualifications. They just know who to contact. (They do a good job, and this should not be construed as any criticism of the CAB).


lots of info here, yes its 3 CALENDER days.
http://www.acepay.co.nz/faq049.htm

http://www.dol.govt.nz/infozone/myfirstjob/employees/holidays-and-leave/sick-leave.asp

http://www.unite.org.nz/sick_leave

After April 1st 2011 an employer can ask for a certificate even on the first day even without having any reason to believe the illness is faked.
Where a certificate is required before three days the employer - not the worker - must pay or reimburse all reasonable medical costs. This will still be the case after 1st April 2011.

So, what's the issue?

If you are sick, there should be no issue. The employer is legally entitled to ask for a certificate - and must pay for it.

If you're not sick, regardless of where weekends or stat hols or annual leave etc are involved, then you're the one with a problem. So where's this thread going to?

If this doesn't suit, try TradeMe forums - they'll be more sympathetic.

:devil

Iantech
23-02-2012, 09:03 PM
Ok, here is my final take on this - after further reading.

You had Thurs and Friday off work sick. Your quote from page 1 reads:

The three calendar days are not interrupted by a scheduled break. Therefore, an employee taking a day's sick leave on a Friday, then a two-day scheduled weekend break, can be asked to provide proof of the illness or injury if they take another day's sick leave on the Monday, even if that day is only the second day of sick leave.

Meaning: that only comes into play IF you took the day off on Monday (which you didnt). Therefore you only took 2 days off sick, the weekend has nothing to do with it as you did not take monday off and the weekend is not one of your normal working days.

Now the employer:

Special rules apply if the employer requests proof within three consecutive calendar days of the employee taking sick leave. The employer must inform the employee as early as possible that the proof is required, and pay the reasonable expenses in getting proof. Employers are not required to have reasonable grounds to suspect that the sick leave is not genuine before requesting proof within these first three consecutive calendar days.

Quote from Labour Dept. website http://www.dol.govt.nz/er/holidaysandleave/sickleave/informing-proof-of-illness.asp


You only took 2 days off sick, therefore your employer has to pay the reasonable expenses in getting proof (doc. cert.).

Plain and clear english. Either your lawyer friend didnt understand you or doesnt know and same with CAB.

Tell your boss he has to fork out for the doctors bill, you dont have to. Good luck.
Case Closed.

Midavalo
23-02-2012, 09:04 PM
So, what's the issue?

If you are sick, there should be no issue. The employer is legally entitled to ask for a certificate - and must pay for it.

If you're not sick, regardless of where weekends or stat hols or annual leave etc are involved, then you're the one with a problem. So where's this thread going to?

If this doesn't suit, try TradeMe forums - they'll be more sympathetic.

:devillol the employer doesn't have to pay for it, as according to them I took 4 days (employer only has to pay if I take less than 3). So I have to pay. That is the issue - I don't want to fork out $50 for a piece of paper from a doctor to say that I was sick. I was sick, I told my boss I was happy to get one if he paid. He declined to pay.

fred_fish
23-02-2012, 09:06 PM
I think this is the point of the objection
Where a certificate is required before three days the employer - not the worker - must pay
If they are claiming it is more than 3 days - employee pays.

FWIW I think it is perfectly clear that it is only 2 days off, and if the employer wants the cert (that they are entitled to ask for) they should pay.

If the intent of the poorly defined law is to crack down on the long weekend sickies, then they should explicitly list Friday and Monday as days requiring certs, as that is the effect of their interpretation of the current rule.

WalOne
23-02-2012, 09:38 PM
lol the employer doesn't have to pay for it, as according to them I took 4 days (employer only has to pay if I take less than 3). So I have to pay. That is the issue - I don't want to fork out $50 for a piece of paper from a doctor to say that I was sick. I was sick, I told my boss I was happy to get one if he paid. He declined to pay.

Ahh, I missed that, sorry it starts to fall into place now.

As fred-fish says, and I agree:

I think it is perfectly clear that it is only 2 days off, and if the employer wants the cert (that they are entitled to ask for) they should pay.


Could it be time to start looking for another employer who couldn't be stuffed wasting time and challenging over a paltry $50.00?

Iantech
24-02-2012, 02:12 AM
lol the employer doesn't have to pay for it, as according to them I took 4 days (employer only has to pay if I take less than 3). So I have to pay. That is the issue - I don't want to fork out $50 for a piece of paper from a doctor to say that I was sick. I was sick, I told my boss I was happy to get one if he paid. He declined to pay.If he says you took 4 days off, then tell him you want 4 days sick leave !! If he doesnt pay for 4 days, then thats because he is wrong and trying to pull one on you. Sounds like a tosser to me. As he has declined to pay for a doc cert, then refuse to get one. You are not obligated to get one if he is not prepared to pay a reasonable expense to get the proof.

His (your employer) choice is to either pay you 4 days sick leave (in which case go get a cert), or he has to pay for doc cert.

As already explained, the weekend only comes into it IF you took Monday off (you didnt). Therefore you only took 2 days off. Stick to your guns, you are in the right. Good luck.