Any time that an employee falls ill or becomes injured, there can be immediate concerns about the nature and status of their job.

Time spent away from the desk or the work site can place pressures on the organisation, and depending on the severity of the condition, this could be a continued problem.

Yet much of these issues can be satisfied with a certified sick certificate that stipulates form a medical professional why the individual could not be present for work and the dates that they were absent for.

To be covered for compensation and to ensure transparency, there are some steps that employees should take with this documentation.

Here we will look at how workers can satisfy their employer in this scenario.


Hand In Document In Due Course

In order for an employee to be operating in accordance with their contract and to earn the compensation they are due, it is paramount that they obtain and hand in their sick certificate in due course. This is not to say that the document must be delivered the very moment they walk through back the front door. It is for the sake of the HR department, billing and management to have the capacity to process the paperwork. In the event that a professional has emerged from a serious procedure, then the documentation could be delayed. Under these conditions, it is advised that the form be handed in as soon as possible with the dates of the absence clearly outlined.


Have The Dates of Absence Correct

It is paramount to stress that any sick certificate be complete with the dates of absence or the expected absence. When professionals fall ill to a disease or virus, there are expected timeframes that range from 24 hours to a week or longer. This could require additional visitations and consultations with a general practitioner to track the progress and to see how the antibiotics are treating the issue. On the documentation, the doctor will understand that the dates of the absence are important to gauging an expected return to work.


Ensure Doctor/Medical Practice is Certified

In very seldom cases, employees have attempted to abuse the sick certificate by forging details of a medical professional and their service. Each and every organisation who hires a professional should be checking these details to clarify that the information on the form is correct, so the onus is on the employee to ensure that the certificate is certified and legitimate.

medical certificate


Outline Medical Absence Details Where Possible

The rules and stipulations are clear when it comes to the sick certificate as privacy dictates that the exact nature of an injury or illness does not have to be disclosed. Under the Fair Work Act, specific details about a condition are left up to the employee to decide if they wish to disclose that information if it is requested.

From the perspective of the employee, it is wise to have a discussion with a manager about the nature of the absence, even if there is a degree of awkwardness or discomfort. The more information the employer has, the greater both parties can manage the situation should further medical issues arise. It is when employees fail to disclose details that questions arise and that lack of transparency can ultimately lead to a permanent departure if they feel as though the employee is abusing their right to confidentiality.


Not Sought Without Diagnosis

Outside of extreme circumstances, there is no scenario whereby an employee can request a sick certificate without having seen a doctor to receive an up to date diagnosis. Rather than employees attempting to con the system, there are cases whereby a professional will be battling a chronic injury or illness that hampers their capacity to visit the doctor, and they will seek a form without a one-on-one consultation.


Open a Dialogue With Employer

Above any advice that could be issued to employees hoping to satisfy the requirements of the sick certificate, they must operate with complete transparency on this topic. After all, the employer is the party that has to be satisfied with their conduct and the nature of their absence, so failing to have a discussion with management regarding this affair is fraught with risk. Staff members are protected under a number of conditions, but continued leaves of absence that are extreme and unreasonable won’t allow for complete protection.



There are further rules and guidelines that will be unique to a working environment when it comes to the sick certificate. There are clear differentials between full-time, part-time and casual workers, unique standards between public and private sectors, and differences between certain medical practices such as surgeries, therapies and general checkups.

To ensure that an employee has undertaken their due diligence, it is strongly advised that they read over the terms of their contract and to be in open dialogue with their employer about their rights and responsibilities. Once that information has been translated, then the concerns and doubts that emerge during this stressful time will be largely negated.