It is part and parcel of modern day business practices to have protocols in place where employees can take leave on medical grounds. This is where the medical certificate comes into play as a consultation with a doctor or medical professional will see a document be handed over to inform the business about the duration of their illness or injury.
There are guidelines and regulations that fall on both sides of the fence when it comes to a medical certificate, both from the perspective of the employee and the employer.
Stipulations in contracts will detail that all employees have a certain amount of sick leave available to them under their contract, insuring against instances whereby professionals feel obliged to undertake work despite being physically or mentally unfit to do so.
Whilst it is important for both sides to consider the legal ramifications and guidelines that are outlined under their contractual obligations and department bodies, here we will discuss some essential points of consideration on this topic.
Privacy Details and Information Disclosure
One of the fundamental questions and queries that patients and employees have to think about in relation to the medical certificate is disclosing the exact nature of their illness or injury. There can be concerns that this information if discovered by an employer could hamper their potential ability to earn promotions or have their contract renewed if they are deemed to have an illness or injury that is debilitating and will hamper performance moving forward.
The exact description of the issue can be discussed with the doctor before being written on the form to ensure that a degree of privacy is respected. However, should the certificate underplay or fail to disclose the relevant details of the illness or injury, then it can create problems whereby the employer cannot guarantee that sick leave can be paid for.
Think About The Date of Issue
A medical certificate can be sourced following an employee’s ability to take sick leave, yet there are some requirements that have to be adhered to. So long as the document is explicit as per the exact date of the certificate being issued, then that will qualify under the current rules and regulations. It should also ensure in detail that the patient’s inability to work will extend during the period that they remain off work. Issues will arise in the instances where a doctor’s listing of the unfit dates cuts short of the period they remain absent from work.
A medical certificate does not only place a burden on employees and employers to do the right thing when documenting this information, but the medical practitioner as well. Their documentation must be accurate, honest and not misleading to the business that will be undertaking their due diligence to hire the individual. A contract can be canceled if this documentation is falsified.
Not a Mandatory Process For The Doctor
Just because an individual requests a medical certificate from their doctor or practitioner that does not mean that they have to hand one over. A doctor is perfectly entitled to refuse and decline any request they feel would not justify their absence from work. These types of events usually occur if an individual is seeking a medical certificate retrospectively to explain their absence for a certain period, an example that is grounds for punishment or dismissal depending on the nature of the work and the organisation in question.
It is important to respect and uphold the employment rules regarding a medical certificate. Truth and transparency must be upheld at all times and from all parties as a medical certificate is issued from a legal standpoint, placing the burden and responsibility on the employer, employee and medical professional to carry out their duty correctly.