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Should employers be charged for workers’ medical certificates?

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HC Online | 09 Feb 2015, 08:40 AM Agree 0
Medicare architect Professor John Deeble recently suggested that employers should foot the bill for staffs’ medical certificates, which has been met with backlash from business leaders.
  • Paul | 09 Feb 2015, 11:53 AM Agree 0
    Experts who have never actually owned or ran a business. This idea is not new. It actually legislation in N.Z. This is where he has got this idea.

    How can Brian Morton blame the request for a medical certificate being the driver of G.P prescribing antibiotics for minor illnesses when they are inappropriate? I suggest these G.Ps may need some further training.
  • Di | 09 Feb 2015, 02:11 PM Agree 0
    Surely common sense should guide this issue.
    After consulting the FWO, our workplace policy requires evidence of illness by way of a Med Cert OR a Stat Dec.
    Many pharmacies now issue Med Certs. So why should an employee have to go to a GP?
    FWO say "Medical certificates or statutory declarations are examples of acceptable forms of evidence. While there are no strict rules on what type of evidence needs to be given, the evidence has to convince a reasonable person that the employee was genuinely entitled to the sick or carer’s leave."
    Doesn't this therefore make the argument of who pays irrelevant?
    We find many employees still go to their GP as they are genuinely ill and need a consult for their own wellbeing, so the med cert is a by-product of a necessary consult.
    But with a policy like ours, those employees with occasional recurring health issues, like say migraines, don't need to burden the health system as we accept a stat dec from them, creating trust and simplifying the process.
  • Bronwyn | 09 Feb 2015, 04:38 PM Agree 0
    If employers are to be charged for the medical certificates issued to employees then they should be entitled a reason for the illness, not a broad 'medical condition', thus the employer receives some value from the cost of the certificate and some accountability from both the employee and the practitioner. The reason does not have to be a breach of privacy but gives the employer something to work with eg I have had an employee who took 13 Mondays off in a row with a medical condition that strangely only effected them on a Monday ...
  • Kevin | 09 Feb 2015, 04:48 PM Agree 0
    Isn't is amazing that a specific requirement to meet industrial and workplace needs can be manipulated so much.

    I would love to adopt a policy whereby employees were paid for their sick leave. Then if they are absent - they are not paid. I wonder how that would impact on doctors and their income. Unions are against this notion but basically employers as simply providing a free "banking/financial management service by administering sick leave as we do now. If we truly want to improve productivity we need to adopt a new approach.
    Recently we had one doctor who certified an employee unable to perform most of her duties but then because the light duties could not be accommodated promtly wrote a contradictory MC two days later - begs the questions on ethics.
  • Catherine Cahill | 09 Feb 2015, 05:50 PM Agree 0
    Well said Di.

    Most employers do not realise, or do not want their employees to know, that a Stat Dec is acceptable under Fair Work.

    So, Brian Morton is actually incorrect in his assumption

    However, there are times when the Employer wishes to organise an Independent Medical, and in those cases the Employer pays for the Medical and the Report.

    Simpelz!
  • Di | 10 Feb 2015, 12:47 PM Agree 0
    Further to Kevin's comments about whether staff should be paid for sick leave, our workplace has a mix of full time employees and casuals. Our casuals are mainly uni students, who work variable shifts 2-3 days a week then periods of full time hours during their uni breaks. They aren't paid sick leave but do of course get a loading on the award rate in compensation for that. Our full time staff vary from basic award to well above. Our stats demonstrate time and time again that there is little difference in absentee rates between these 3 main categories indicating to us that having paid or unpaid leave doesn't drastically alter absenteeism.
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