1 min read

Is it right to take a whole day off just for a doctor’s appointment?

Q: I have noticed that a few staff members take a full-day off work when they need to see a doctor, while others only take off a half-day, so it’s recorded as a half-day of sick leave.

Can we specify that doctor appointments should be made first thing in the morning or late afternoon so that employees can attend work around the appointment? And if that is not possible and the employee takes the whole day off, can we require that it be taken as a half-day of sick leave and a half-day of annual leave?

A: Employees are entitled to paid personal leave for any period of illness or injury which prevents them from attending work. Generally speaking (but not always), a specialist appointment for ‘non-incapacitating’ injuries or illnesses are not considered sufficient basis for taking paid personal leave.

You could put a policy in place that requests any elective appointments be at either end of the day, but the reality is if someone needs to see a specialist they just have to fit it in however they can.

If they can’t give you evidence of their not being fit for work (e.g. a doctor’s note) then the time off can be unpaid leave, or annual leave if the employee prefers.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Personal/carer’s leave for current advice.

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