South African businesses are increasingly dealing with absenteeism due to prolonged sick leave.
According to Petrus Khumalo of SchoemanLaw, this helped by the fact that many employers are under the impression that they have to accept a medical certificate without questioning its authenticity.
“However, when hours are lost as a result of absenteeism from work, it can be financially crippling for a company who is obligated to remunerate Employees while simultaneously not making any revenue during those days of absence,” he said.
“In accordance with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), an employee who works five days a week is entitled to 30 days of paid sick leave in a 36-month cycle.”
If an employee exhausts his/her sick leave days prior to the expiration of the cycle, any sick leave taken will be unpaid sick leave, he said.
“In most frequent cases, there seems to be a pattern by Employees of taking sick leave on a Monday or Friday.
“The employer is entitled to ask the doctor to draft an affidavit as a sworn document that says ‘I saw this person and this person has a medical condition’.
“The courts have gone even further and said if the employer doubts the affidavit, the doctor has to present him/ herself to explain the information.”
Khumalo said that this duty also stretches to Traditional Healers which are consulted by employees when they have taken sick leave.
There only catch is that the Traditional Healer has to be a registered member of the Medical Council, he said.