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Absence from work due to illness

I was unable to attend work on a Monday because I was sick, and now my employer is asking me to provide a medical certificate (aka letter of absence from work). Is this allowed?

Do you need a medical certificate to support your absence from work on a Monday?

Answer:

According to Section 23 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (No. 75 of 1997), there are rules regarding the proof of illness or injury for employees.

Based on this provision, an employer is not obligated to pay an employee for days they are absent if:

  1. The employee is absent from work for more than two consecutive days, or
  2. The employee is absent on more than two occasions within an eight-week period, and
  3. The employee has not provided a medical certificate, as requested by the employer, stating that they were unable to work due to illness or injury during their absence.

It is permissible for the employer to include a requirement in the employee’s employment contract or policy, stating that the employee must provide a medical certificate in case of illness-related absences, such as Mondays or Fridays, even if it’s only for one day. Keep in mind that unauthorised absence from work, and excessive absence from work also require an explanation.

This arrangement does not violate the legislation as long as the employer still compensates the employee for that day, even without a medical certificate explaining their absence from work.

It’s important to note that if the employee fails to provide the requested medical certificate, the employer may take disciplinary action against them for not adhering to the company rule.

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