BIG NEWS

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pulling a sickie

The Dominion Post reports:
The so-called "mental health day" could become extinct under law changes allowing bosses who suspect a worker of pulling sickies to demand they front up with proof after only one day.
I was under the impression that bosses could do that already, provided they pay for the proof, normally a medical certificate. In fact at one government department I worked for, I was told to go to the doctor, at my own expense to prove I was sick after two days. I refused, as I understood the law to mean that a medical certificate had to be paid for by the employer, unless I had been away for three working days or more; ( I since found it was actually three three calender days) as per section 68 of the Holidays Act 2003. In any case, my boss refused to pay for the visit - perhaps because he had no reasonable grounds to suspect my sickness wasn't genuine

The article goes on:
However, the change, announced by the Government at the National Party's annual conference in Auckland, would allow bosses to require staff to provide proof they are really sick from day one. The employer would have to pay the cost of a doctor's visit.
But the Holiday's Act also states that an employer can already do that. The difference is that the employer has to reasonably suspect the employee is pulling a sickie; National wants to take reasonableness out of it.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter. If the doctor thinks the employee was sick, the medical certificate will be furnished and a couple of hours productivity is lost. If the employer is pulling a sickie, and the doctor agrees, the medical certificate won't be furnished, so the employers reasonable test is only relevant to the decision-making process in paying for the doctor's visit. National thinks that test should be removed, provided that the employer still pays for the doctors visit.

The big thing wrong with that is that employers are encouraged to be pricks who act without considering reasonableness. They should also be made to pay for their employee's transport costs to visit the doctor, and if that is not included in the legislation, why on earth does it need changing?

Hat tip ( for jogging my memory) No Right Turn

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