Industrial relations experts are warning workers not to take a ‘sickie’ on Friday, the day after ANZAC Day, to effectively give themselves a four day weekend.
Miles Heffernan, Litigation Director at Industrial Relations Claims, says an employer can ask for a doctor’s certificate even if you take just one day off, and if it turns out you weren’t actually sick, that can be grounds for your boss to sack you.
“Many workers have lost their job because they thought it would be a good idea to take that one extra day off to get a long weekend – but unless you’re sick, or are taking an authorised leave day – it’s not worth the risk,” Mr Heffernan said.
Can you be sacked for taking sick leave?
Full time employees are entitled to 10 paid sick days a year, which can be used at any time you are sick, or need to care for a family member or someone you live with who is unwell.
If you work part time, you are entitled to a pro rata amount based on the hours that you work.
It is important that you tell your boss as soon as possible that you are going to be taking the day off, and how long you think it will be until you will be able to return to work.
“The law says even if you take just one day off, your boss can ask you to provide proof that you were sick, or were caring for a family member who was sick,” Mr Heffernan said.
“Your employer can’t tell you which doctor to see, and it is not appropriate or proper for anyone from your work to sit in on your appointment.”
Factory worker awarded compensation after taking ANZAC Day sickie
A Tasmanian factory worker was awarded $8,000 compensation after claiming she was unfairly dismissed for taking a “sickie” the day after Anzac Day.
Avril Chapman had worked at the Tassal factory in Tasmania for five years, and was sacked after leaving a voicemail for her employer on April 25 which said:
“Hi Michelle, it’s Avril, one of your most loved pains in the arse.
“Um it’s Anzac Day, my birthday, and I admit I have overindulged so I’m taking into account one of the golden rules, be fit for work and I’m not going to be fit for work so I won’t be there. But um love ya, catch ya on the flip side.”
Ms Chapman was accused by the company of using safety as an excuse to justify her drinking to an extent that she anticipated she would be unable to work the next day.
It concluded this amounted to misconduct, and she was sacked.
The Fair Work Commission found that while there was a valid reason for dismissal, it also ruled that the termination was “harsh”.
As reinstatement was not deemed appropriate, Tassel was ordered to pay Ms Chapman compensation of $8,229 compensation.
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If you have been unfairly dismissed from employment, you may be entitled to compensation.
Strict time limits apply.
Please call our team at Industrial Relations Claims today on
1300 045 466