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Sick Leave Information Page

What is Sick Leave?

Sick leave allows employees to take time off work when they are feeling unwell or are injured. sick certificates serve as legal evidence for such leave. They can be issued by healthcare professionals like doctors, pharmacists and nurse practitioners.

A sick certificate typically includes the healthcare provider’s details, the recommended duration for the employee’s absence, and the examination date.

Sick leave is included in the National Employment Standards (NES), which set the minimum employment standards for all Australian workers under the Fair Work system. Governed by the Fair Work Act 2009, this system outlines rules for various types of leave, such as annual, personal/carer’s, and parental leave. More information on sick leave entitlements can be found here.

How Do I Apply For A Sick Leave Certificate?

If you want to take sick leave, it’s important to learn the process involved in obtaining a sick certificate and providing it to your employer.

According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, an employer can request that an employee provide evidence demonstrating that the leave was taken due to an illness or injury that prevented them from working. An online sick leave certificate from a healthcare provider is commonly accepted throughout many workplaces.

HR rules regarding sick leave can vary significantly across different industries and employers. Each organisation may have its own set of guidelines for requesting and approving sick leave certificates. 

Despite these variations, there is a standard framework that employees can rely on. According to the Fair Work Ombudsman Australia, employers have the right to request evidence, such as a medical certificate, when an employee takes leave due to illness or injury. This requirement can apply even for short absences of one day or less.

By obtaining a sick leave certificate online, employees can ensure they meet these standard requirements and avoid the risk of having their leave rejected. This service provides a convenient and reliable way to secure the necessary documentation, helping employees to comply with their employer’s policies and maintain their entitlement to paid sick leave.

Sick Leave Accumulation

Employees with unused sick leave in a particular year can carry it over to the following year. Knowing how many sick leave days you can take in a year is important. According to NES, full-time employees are entitled to 10 days of paid sick leave annually, while part-time employees receive a pro-rata amount.

Does Unused Sick Leave Expire After One Year?

If you don’t take sick leave, it will accrue over the years. This accrual starts on the first day of work and is based on employees’ regular working hours. Any remaining sick leave at year-end rolls over to the next year.

Sick leave continues to accrue during:

  • Paid leave (e.g., annual leave, sick leave, carer’s leave)
  • Community service leave (including jury duty)
  • Long service leave

However, it does not accrue during:

  • Unpaid annual leave
  • Unpaid sick leave
  • Unpaid parental leave

You can read more about sick leave entitlements and how often it accumulates on the  Fair Work Ombudsman Australia website.

Payment For Sick Leave

Sick leave is paid at an employee’s base pay rate for each hour taken. Employees are compensated for their regular working hours during the leave period, excluding overtime. The base pay rate does not include the following:

  • Incentive-based payments
  • Bonuses
  • Loadings
  • Allowances
  • Overtime
  • Penalty rates

For more information, refer to the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Long Periods Of Sick Leave

Sometimes, employees may be unable to work for extended periods due to illness or injury. Employees who can provide evidence of their condition are protected from dismissal due to their absence if they meet the following criteria:

  • They have been away for less than 3 consecutive months or less than 3 months over the past 12 months.
  • They are still utilising their paid sick leave.

If an employee’s absence exceeds 3 months, they lose protection against dismissal due to their absence under these conditions:

  • Their absence exceeds 3 consecutive months or totals more than 3 months over the past 12 months, and
  • They have exhausted all paid sick leave.

Why You Should Utilise Your Paid Sick Leave

If you’re like many and tend to power through work even when you’re under the weather, it’s important to understand the value of taking your paid sick leave. Awards do not permit cashing out sick leave or carer’s leave, nor should they. The intention behind this policy is to ensure that employees use their sick leave to recover and maintain their health.

Taking your sick leave can lead to several positive outcomes:

  • Better Recovery: Staying home when you’re ill allows you to rest and recover more quickly, reducing the risk of prolonged illness.
  • Increased Productivity: By taking the time to fully recover, you’ll return to work more energised and productive.
  • Healthier Workplace: Using your sick leave helps prevent the spread of illness to colleagues, promoting a healthier work environment for everyone.
  • Work-Life Balance: Embracing your sick leave can help you maintain a better balance between your personal health and professional responsibilities.

Remember, your paid sick leave is there for a reason. Utilising it not only benefits your well-being but also contributes to a more efficient and healthy workplace. So next time you’re feeling under the weather, take the time you need to rest and get better.

Sick Person Applying For a Sick Leave Certificate Online

Sick Leave FAQs

A medical certificate, such as a sick leave certificate, is an acceptable form of evidence. According to the Fair Work Act 2009, There are no strict rules around what type of evidence is required for sick leave. However, it is said that the provided evidence must convince a reasonable person that the employee was genuinely ill or injured and unable to work. 

Sick leave can cover medical appointments or elective surgeries if the employee’s ability to work is being affected by a personal illness or injury.  An employer can always ask for evidence from an employee to confirm that they were unfit for work.

An employee must inform their employer as soon as possible when they intend to take sick leave, even if the notification comes after the leave has started. Additionally, an employee should specify the expected duration of their absence or how long they anticipate being off work.

Sick certificates are Issued by healthcare professionals like doctors, and pharmacists. These certificates include details such as the professional’s information, the recommended time off, and the examination date. According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, medical certificates are acceptable evidence for sick leaves. The validity of such sick certificates varies by employer and industry, so consulting HR or company policies is advisable to understand specific requirements. Please refer to our blog “ What You Need to Know About Online Medical Certificates: Are They Legal?” to learn more.

Full-time employees are entitled to 10 paid sick days per year, which accumulate over time if not used. while part-time employees receive leave on a pro-rata basis.

A sick certificate that meets all the guidelines and legal requirements of the Fair Work Ombudsman is a valid document for taking sick leave. These certificates are legally valid documents and can be used as proof of illness when an employee is unable to attend work due to sickness or injury. However, some workplace agreements or awards might require certificates from a registered medical practitioner in certain circumstances. If you think this might apply to you, please verify before purchasing a certificate from us.

Obtaining a sick certificate from OnCare Health is easy and convenient. All you need to do is select your certificate type, fill out your details, answer a brief questionnaire and pay for your certificate. Once reviewed, your certificate will be sent via email.

No, due to legal restrictions, OnCare Health cannot issue backdated sick certificates.

Yes, but a new certificate is required for each day, and is subject to pharmacist’s discretion.

Yes, OnCare Health takes the privacy and security of our users’ data very seriously. Your data is encrypted and stored securely on our servers, and we adhere to strict privacy policies.

The guidelines set the standard for issuing medical certificates. These details are the key elements of a valid certificate and emphasises healthcare providers ethical and professional duties to provide accurate and truthful documentation.

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