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Your questions answered: Can we discipline an employee for failing to provide a medical certificate?

By Portner Press on May 15th, 2019
  1. Employee Management
  2. Leave Provisions

Q
We have a new employee who has only been with us for a month, but has so far spent half of that time off on personal/carer’s leave.

We have been given various reasons for the absences, ranging from caring for her sick mother to her own illness.

Although we have requested medical certificates a number of times, we have not seen any so far.

She is still in her probationary period, but we are concerned that if we terminate her employment, we may run into complications since she claims that her absences are due to illness.

A
Section 107 of the FW Act notes that an employee must provide a medical certificate if the employer requests it. While you may not have an existing policy requiring employees to provide medical certificates, the FW Act allows you to request the relevant documents. If the employee refuses to provide the certificates, you may begin the disciplinary process.

Since she has been working for you for fess than 6 months, she does not have the unfair dismissal option available to her. However, she may lodge a general protections claim at any time during her employment. There is no way to stop her lodging such a claim, but the way to avoid a successful claim is to clearly document the performance process as being due to her continued failure to produce medical certificates.

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