Sick and tired of “sick and tired”

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) makes provision for paid sick leave when the employee is too ill to perform his/her duties, or is incapacitated due to illness.  An employee is entitled to the number of days’ paid sick leave equal to the number of days normally worked in a 6 week period during a sick leave cycle of 36 months.  During the first 6 months of employment, an employee is entitled to 1 day’s paid sick leave for every 26 days worked.

Abuse of sick leave can have a huge impact on a business’s productivity and profitability.  To ensure that employees do not abuse sick leave, employers should implement clear rules and standards in the workplace regarding attendance, absenteeism and sick leave.

We advise employers to use the following guidelines and ensure that employees know:

  • how and when to apply for any form of leave
  • who to contact if they are ill, injured or have a family emergency
  • how to contact that person (telephone, text message, e-mail, etc.)
  • when they will be required to submit supporting documentation such as a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner, or proof of a death in the family
  • what consequences of non-compliance with the workplace rules will be (disciplinary action, unpaid leave, etc.)

It is also very important that the employer monitor work attendance and leave taken.  Do monthly reports to identify any possible patterns in terms of absenteeism amongst employees.  These patterns and trends are usually indicative of a more serious problem, for instance a chronic medical condition.

Contact the LWO at 0861 101 828 if you suspect an employee of abusing sick leave, to ensure that the correct procedure is followed.

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LWO Regsadviseur - LWO Legal Advisor

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