A recent study1 of 97 public and private sector
employers in Australia found that 40% of all personal leave was
taken on Mondays, which is double any other day. 45% of employers
surveyed believed that employees were absent on personal leave
because they were "chucking a sickie".
Employers are entitled to monitor and regulate employees'
use of personal leave.
To be entitled to paid personal leave, an employee must:
Be unfit for work because they are sick or injured, or be
required to provide care to an immediate family or household member
who is sick or injured or affected by an unexpected emergency;
notify their employer that they will be taking leave "as
soon as practicable"; and
where the employer asks for evidence, provide evidence that
"would satisfy a reasonable person".
Specific paid personal leave entitlements or procedures should
be observed including in any applicable Modern Award. Employers
should have clear policies around when employees must provide
evidence of the reasons for their absences and what evidence they
You should accept a medical certificate from a qualified medical
practitioner unless there are circumstances that reasonably lead
you to suspect that an employee was not entitled to take personal
leave. If so, you can investigate this as a disciplinary matter by
asking the employee to provide a medical report, checking that the
medical certificate is authentic, and putting specific allegations
to the employee, based on objective evidence that their leave
claims are dubious.
twice as likely to be absent on Mondays than any other day of the
Care is needed, because disciplining or dismissing an employee
for taking personal leave may give rise to an unfair dismissal
claim, or a general protections or discrimination claim on the
basis that you have taken adverse action against them because they
exercised workplace rights to leave.
1Bianca Hall, "The Great Aussie Sickie
Falls Out of Favour, but Entitlement Culture Remains: Bosses",
The Sydney Morning Herald, November 5 2015.
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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