By Elisha Radwanowski, B Com (HRM & IR)

Post State of Origin there may be a few ‘soft heads’ at work today….but some will not even show up for work… So the question becomes then: what can you do to manage a sickie?

Set clear expectations

Management needs to make it clear to staff on which company policy is relevant in regards to unplanned or sick leave that occurs adjacent to a weekend, adjacent to a public holiday or even leave of a length exceeding two working days.

Many businesses have clear policies on the requirement to present a valid doctors certificate or a statutory declaration in these situations.

Discuss the realities

Even with clear and enforced policies around unplanned leave, adjacent to a weekend or a public holiday, it may become necessary for a business to discuss the actual activities of an employee on the day of their absence.

This is a delicate situation fraught with the opportunity for conflict and confusion. Any such discussion and management must be undertaken carefully and with respectful due process.

Sick at the cricket?

The often repeated tale of the employee that calls in sick, acquires and presents a doctors certificate and then is spotted on the television cricket coverage or uses a public Facebook account to ‘check in’ at the cricket, is not apocrypha.

It is situation that many businesses need to face. As was seen in a recent case, when the commission supported the decision by the employer to terminate on the basis of a fundamental breach of trust in the employment relationship, after an employee produced a doctors certificate but instead was found to have travelled interstate for a holiday. This dismissal was made and upheld under the small business code of conduct at Fair Work Australia. This then does not as easily apply to all businesses but does serve to highlight an important point, namely that, while sick leave is an entitlement that is sacrosanct, there is a legitimate interest in the actual conduct of employees while they are on sick leave.

Here to help

ACAPMA members are reminded that they can access the advice support resources and representation of the ACAPMA Employment Professionals on this issue, or indeed any other employment issue, by calling 1300 160 270.

HR Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice and you should seek further advice on your situation by  calling 1300 160 270 and speaking to one of ACAPMA Employment Professionals its free for members.

Call 1300 160 270 or email communications@acapma.com.au to enquire about management.