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Make sure you know what your rights are in terms of South African labour law when it comes to taking sick leave. Here are Scorpion Legal Protection’s 5 must-know facts about sick leave.
Section 23 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) states that employees who are off sick for more than 2 consecutive days (in other words, 3 days or more) must produce a medical certificate. Even if your employer makes it company policy, you cannot be forced to produce a medical certificate for just one day of sick leave. However, if you are repeatedly taking Mondays or Fridays off as sick leave, your employer may decide to conduct an investigation into the matter and can take disciplinary action against you if it is found that you were lying.
Your employer only needs to know for how long you have been booked off. It’s enough that a registered medical practitioner has examined you and determined that you are not fit for work. The sick note can just read ‘medical condition’.
Having a contagious illness and bringing it into the office can be considered an occupational health and safety risk to other employees and the workplace at large. Even if you feel ok to work, you would still need to take sick leave or arrange to work from home with your employer if this is possible.
If you get a sick note from a medical practitioner and submit this to your employer, the dates noted on the sick note must be converted to sick leave. The annual leave days you initially put in must be given back to you.
Employers are not required to pay you for additional sick days if you have used up all your available sick leave. You will then need to take from your annual leave, or, if this is not available either, you can arrange with your employer for unpaid leave and then apply for illness benefits in terms of the Unemployment Insurance Act.
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* This is only basic legal advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.
Date added: 25 July 2022
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