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The ‘fit note’: human rights breach or innovation?

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HC Online | 21 Sep 2015, 07:40 AM Agree 0
GPs in Canberra have begun to use the proposed replacement for traditional sick notes – but it is already facing an investigation by the Human Rights Commission.
  • HR Dude | 21 Sep 2015, 10:33 AM Agree 0
    Human rights breach...?

    Medical records can be released with consent, I don't see how this could be a break of any rights. The other side of course is that if you present to a doctor and are given a blanket 'unable to attend work' then you re ignoring the reality of different workplaces.

    Already in the areas of workcover and OHS we have reasonable adjustments that take place to allow workers to come back to work. This includes formal and informal processes. It's odd, to say the least, that we would want people to stay at home and sit around because they have sprained a wrist.
  • Concerned | 21 Sep 2015, 10:48 AM Agree 0
    What about people who are trying to take time off for their mental health?
    I can't imagine being vetted to see what tasks they're fit to do would be very pleasant.
    This smacks a little of placing productivity and profitability over employee health concerns.
  • Another HR Dude | 21 Sep 2015, 02:04 PM Agree 0
    @Concerned. If someone has a mental health issue and the Doctor assesses that they cannot do any work, then they'll get a note to say they aren't fit for any work. If they are capable of doing something (and this may be helpful to them), they'll get a note stating what they can do. The current system is floored in that it only gives the Doctor one choice. The new system improves on this by giving them the flexibility to say when people are capable of doing some work.
  • Jenny | 21 Sep 2015, 03:16 PM Agree 0
    By focusing on what a person is fit for, they potentially have the opportunity to attend work in a suitable capacity, if it can be provided, rather than using up paid sick leave they may desperately need at some point in the future. Sick leave is a benefit to used when you are too sick to work or are required to provide care for a dependant/family member etc.
    I don't see how your employer understanding your temporary incapacity is an invasion of your privacy. How else do they help you and support you to get well? If you are too ill work at all then the doctor should tick that box.
  • MM | 23 Sep 2015, 09:43 AM Agree 0
    I want to know how useful this really is - employees on Workers' Comp have an extremely difficult time with most employers getting alternate or "light" duties, I can't think of too many employers who are going to provide this option to employees on personal/carer's leave when there is no legal obligation to do so (either you're fit to do you're job or you're not...) - and for short term illnesses/injuries there is really no reason for this to even be considered.
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