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Thread: AWOL and Medical Certificates

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    AWOL and Medical Certificates

    Here's the scenario: employee sends manager a text to say she is ill with the ever popular gastro. Manager phones employee to advise that she is expected to go to doctor and still come to work and that sick leave is not authorised. Employee advised she will go to doctor and phone back. She doesn't phone back.

    Upon return to work, the "gastro" employee produces medical certificate. We are of the opinion that this is AWOL and will go down unpaid. Are we being too harsh on our own policies here that if you don't follow the absence reporting procedure that you will not be entitled to paid sick leave?

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    It's pretty hard to argue unauthorised absence when there is a valid medical certificate.

    However, I'd suggest failure to comply with company procedures could be raised as a seperate disciplinary offence. This could merit a caution, written warning etc as appropriate to the offence.
    Last edited by Dave A; 19-Oct-09 at 08:30 PM.
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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    In all honesty you get a lot of abusers and then you get real illness at a very bad time. Illness is not a convenience and cannot be controlled by the stuff or there management. Giving a written warning and disciplinary actions is a bit harsh. And I would argue against the disciplinary actions if it was me.

    I would recommend that you send this person to another doctor for a “second opinion” Also check there history at your company; does this happen every month once every two months. Is it always the same doctor?

    People that are real abusers have patterns that will repeat. I honestly would do my homework because giving somebody a warning because he or she was “sick” and didn’t follow company policy is not enough... You need evidence that this person wasn’t incapacitated before you can make the warning stick.

    Also did you look at his or her medication? As a “qualified” safety officer I will recommend that you have a look at their medication. Make sure that, that person is “able” to work with that medication in his or her system. You can phone your local pharmacist to find out if the “medication” will affect the worker in question.

    Remember if that person is using heavy medication and the medication have an effect and this person injure him or herself, you will have to explain.


    Basically “DO your homework” before you take action...

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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    Harsh - man, if that was me that was sick, I would check out the company policy with regard to resigning and go.

    If you are sick - you must go to doc, get certificate and return to work and get authorisation to get sick leave.....come on get real. Here you on deaths door and now you must go back and present yourself to some oke in charge who is what...suddenly a doctor, so you can get him to say ok - you had better go home now and get some rest. Then the rest of the staff get what you got and now the whole company is in trouble. - LOL.

    Get some proper relationship going with your staff, trust is a great thing to have at work, so you avoid these kind of hang ups and tensions. You are all going to have heart attacks with this anal retentive attitude - then where will you put your sick leave form?
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    Silver Member Frankincense's Avatar
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    There is a place called Hell....no mercy on the merciless!


    "Manager phones employee to advise that she is expected to go to doctor and still come to work and that sick leave is not authorised"

    So now you wish to carry more authority than a qualified General Practitioner?.... ....will you pay for her funeral and be the daughter to a bereaved family?

    .....just this week an auditing firm supervisor denied a trainee a days sick leave as "not authorized"..next day at work she started bleeding on the loo, and was rushed to hospital for an emergency op. She is suing the firm and judgment in her favour is 100% certain. All is in writing on email.

    I hope you are learning something here!
    Last edited by Frankincense; 19-Oct-09 at 09:41 PM.

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    Thanks for all the input and comments. I guess without the full context of the situation it's a bit hard to comment fairly, and reading my own synopsis does make us sound a bit merciless.

    The context here is repeated absence on Saturdays; continuous failure to inform her manager before shift and poor attitude regardless of manager's efforts. The medication is immodium. I think this particular incident was the last straw on the camel's back. But a valid certificate remains a valid certificate.

    In our environment, we have people being signed off by doctors for various ailments up to 9 times per year per individual. The impact this excessive unplanned absence has on the rest of the team and our customers is costing us dearly.

    Surely you can agree that the General Practitioner that continuously signs someone off for gastro or migraine or flu but doesn't refer the person to a specialist does not have their patient's health as priority, and the employee who - during a meeting with managers who care about the health and workload - admits to not following a healthy diet & doesn't follow any exercise regime or doesn't take preventative measure to ward off the change of season bugs is making no proactive attempts to fulfill their contractual obligation to be at work and making sure they are doing everything REASONABLE to ensure they can be at work.

    Why should the rest of the team take care of themselves and carry the weight of the work for a few that think that they are entitled to take the full 30 days sick leave in (often less than) 3 years?

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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    Ah - OK different story.

    Seems then you should do the one letter, two letter, three letter, door - system. It should be easy enough with bad attitudes and non communication etc. Staff that create a history do not seem to realise that they lead with the chin when it comes to firing issues. The answer should be easy for you. Ignore the medical issues and concentrate on the management issues when processing this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ankia View Post
    The context here is repeated absence on Saturdays; continuous failure to inform her manager before shift and poor attitude regardless of manager's efforts. The medication is immodium.
    Years ago I had a staff member that had that pattern - it turned out that the witchdoctor had him on a routine purge once a week. However, it was the staff member's choice to do it on a Saturday. When I suggested that it could be done on a Sunday... Well, the idea didn't go down well.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member sterne.law@gmail.com's Avatar
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    If she has produced the sick certificate then you need to pay her the sick leave. A company cannot authorize sick leave, per se. You can and should discipline her for not following company procedure. A warning for first offence.

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    Platinum Member sterne.law@gmail.com's Avatar
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    The legislation provides for incidences where a person is ill on a Friday, Monday and/or days before or after a public holiday. As Saturday is a day of work in your company, this would be the equivalent of a Friday. This piece of legislation allows you to take disciplinary action, despite the sick certificate. After this there is the more severe route of incapacity.

  13. Thank given for this post:

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