Sick of unlawful workplace notices?

Have you ever seen a notice such as this in your workplace?

Not only is it incorrect but it is unlawful.

An SDA Delegate intervened today in a major supermarket on the NSW Central Coast to have this notice removed.

Unfortunately notices like this are far too common so it’s important that you know your rights about personal / carer’s leave and that the SDA is here to support members enforcing these rights.

If you are a permanent worker, you are entitled to 10 days paid personal (sick / carer’s) leave per annum and pro-rata for part-time workers.

If you are casual there is no obligation to provide any evidence of illness as there is no paid entitlement for personal sick leave – the law only requires that a casual employee may be required to provide suitable evidence if they are absent from work due to unpaid carer’s leave. The SDA suggests keeping lines of communication open with your Manager but that does not entitle the boss to demand a certificate if you are sick.

If you are a permanent worker you are also not required to present a certificate on every occasion. This is simply wrong. The law requires that you notify your employer as soon as practicable and you must advise your employer of the period (or expected period) of the leave.  You may be required by your employer to provide “evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person” regarding your illness. Keep in mind that the law considers a medical certificate or a statutory declaration as satisfying this requirement.  Some Enterprise Agreements negotiated by the SDA also provide that there are a number of days (e.g. 2 single shift absences per annum) for which the employer is not entitled to request any evidence.

Notices like this one are also commonly intended to make workers feel guilty for being sick and taking time off work, penalising workers for accessing their minimum lawful entitlements and often putting pressure on workers to return to work before they are well.

They are unacceptable, contrary to the law and may constitute adverse action or discrimination.

For more information about your personal / carer’s leave entitlements, check out our recent blog, your Award, your Enterprise Agreement and the National Employment Standards. Rights will vary somewhat from workplace to workplace depending on the precise terms of your Award or EA but notices like are against the law.

If you see a notice like this in your workplace let your Delegate know immediately or contact the SDA Newcastle and Northern Branch on (02) 4961 4694 or secretary@sdan.org.au

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