HRD forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Does medical clearance mean fit for work?

Notify me of new replies via email
HC Online | 30 Jun 2014, 11:01 AM Agree 0
An employee who has been seriously injured and away from work for a long period may not be fit to resume a physical role, even if their doctor has given them the all-clear. When can you question a worker’s medical clearance?
  • Tony | 30 Jun 2014, 03:04 PM Agree 0
    At last - common sense prevails! Most treating Doctors do not know the full demands of a job and the Employer needs to be sure so that they can fulfil their duty of care. We do this frequently as the cleared for work statements we receive are usually very vague and lack detail.
  • Jennifer Staines | 03 Jul 2014, 03:44 PM Agree 0
    In my view this is a risk management issue & your actions are dictated by the risks a role potentially presents. Employers who care about their employees welfare, their WC premium and the bottom line, won't risk putting employees back into a physically or mentally demanding role based on a tick in a box, or a one line comment.
    I have managed cases where an employees financial circumstances was driving their rush to return to work & they pressured their doctors because they were losing wages/overtime, affecting the whole family.
    If you can't get an independent medical assessment, I have found asking specific questions relevant to the role eg. fitness to stand, walk, lift, bend, stretch etc AND for how many minutes at a time(?) are helpful. I also ask if rest breaks or variation of tasks or postures are required. For some roles it is useful to describe workplace scenarios an employee is likely to face, and ask if they a fit to deal with that specific situation(?) My theory is that you can't have too much information for everyone's sake.
  • MG | 03 Oct 2018, 07:45 AM Agree 0
    Completely fair i'd say, however what happens when your employee requests this second opinion. The employee passes secondary examinations, then employer expects employee to take the extra time to complete this secondary clearence as SICK LEAVE? Surely not, this is considered leave with pay, unless employee fails the secound opion? Would you agree? My employer (one of Australais BIG est miners) thinks not and I'm lacing up my gloves on this one.
  • Dr. CM | 18 Jan 2019, 12:07 PM Agree 0
    A much more common situation, in my experience, is that an employee has been given sick leave by their doctor for a short term illness, perhaps a week to a few days. Upon completing the period of rest the employee presents to work and is told they cannot work without a medical clearance, which the employer expects will be paid for by the employee, and often times requires a further day off work without sick leave.
    Surely, if the employer requires further reassurance, this should be at his/her cost.
Post a reply