|Title:||Sick Leave – Health Services Salaried Officers|
|Document ID:||Operational Circular OP 1788/04|
|Date of issue:||Thursday, 6 May 2004|
|Status:||NO LONGER APPLICABLE|
|Description:||This Operational Circular provides clarification of the new evidence requirements for sick leave introduced through the new Health Service Salaried Officers Industrial Agreement (OP 1790/04).|
|Period of effect:||from 27 April 2004|
|Authorised by:||Mr Marshall Warner, Acting Director, Workforce Directorate, 30-Apr-2004|
|Print version:||View print version|
|To be read in conjunction with:||
Sick Leave – Health Services Salaried Officers
The new Health Services Union - Department of Health - Health Services Salaried Officers State Industrial Agreement 2004 (PSA AG 4 of 2004) was registered in the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission on 27 April 2004.
While a copy of the new agreement is attached to another circular (OP 1790/04), the purpose of this circular is to detail new procedures for the taking and approval of sick leave in accordance with the Agreement's revised sick leave provisions.
The revised procedures are required as a result of new standards of evidence for illness introduced in accordance with the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 and set out in subclause (3) of Clause 24. - SICK AND FAMILY LEAVE of the Agreement:
The previous need for absences in excess of two working days to be verified by a medical certificate (and any absence after a total of 5 days without certificates) has been replaced by a requirement to provide "evidence acceptable to a reasonable person". The completion of an appropriate sick leave application (self certification) is sufficient evidence for absences of not more than two days, up to a maximum of five days in any anniversary year.
Salaried officers can now provide reasonable evidence other than a medical certificate, although in many cases the nature of the illness will mean that a medical practitioner will still be required to certify that an officer was unfit for work.
Where an injury or condition is treated by a registered health professional, then that person can provide the required certification. However, whereas a medical practitioner is able to certify a full range of illnesses, injuries and conditions, the certification of another health professional must be strictly relevant to that person's qualifications. For example a physiotherapist may certify that an officer was unfit for work as a result of a muscle or joint injury (which the physiotherapist has treated), but could not certify that the officer was suffering from a respiratory illness.
It is important to note that the treating health professional must certify that the officer was unable to work as a result of their condition.
A health professional may also certify that an officer attended for treatment previously prescribed by a medical practitioner, for example occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, radiotherapy.
The certification of unqualified and/or alternative health therapists is not acceptable unless the condition has previously been certified by a medical practitioner who has endorsed the subsequent therapy and that the officer will not be fit for duty whenever the therapy is undertaken. It should be noted that an unqualified and/or alternative health therapist is not qualified to certify an employee as unfit for work.
The certificate of a registered Chiropractor is acceptable for absences of not more than three consecutive working days.
In remote or isolated locations where a medical practitioner may not be immediately available, a registered nurse may certify unfitness for work. A registered nurse who has provided treatment within a health care service such a hospital, nursing post or doctor's surgery, may also provide a certificate.
It is expected than any absence in excess of three working days will usually be certified by a medical practitioner, and health services may require additional evidence such a medical certificate where the absence exceeds two consecutive working days.
In all cases the certification must be in writing, and the document must identify the health professional who treated the officer, their qualifications (if these are not otherwise evident) and the location of their practice or the health care service. Backdated certificates are not acceptable, unless treatment has been delayed due to causes beyond the officer's control - in such cases the health professional's certification must indicate that they are satisfied that the condition or circumstances prevented earlier treatment.
For absences which in total exceed ten working days in any anniversary year of employment, a medical or dental certificate must be provided. Even if a medical certificate is provided, employers may require additional evidence where the absence is extended, or the nature of the illness is not clear. As an example, a certificate from a medical practitioner stating only that the officer will be unfit for work for a month, is not considered reasonable, and the employer may require further evidence before granting sick leave.
The evidence set out above is also the required standard for family leave absences (subclause 14).
It should be noted that if the illness or injury may be the subject of a workers' compensation claim, a registered medical practitioner must see the officer, as the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 1981 and associated Regulations require a medical certificate in a prescribed form in order that a claim can proceed.
If you have any queries regarding this circular, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr Marshall Warner
This circular last updated: Thursday, 6 May 2004 at 12:00am