Health Services Union - Health Professional, Administrative, Clerical, Technical and Supervisory Staff - Personal Leave Evidentiary Requirements

Applicable to: WA Health

Advice of new evidentiary requirements for personal leave in the WA Health – Health Services Union – PACTS – Industrial Agreement 2011.

Health Services Union - Health Professional, Administrative, Clerical, Technical and Supervisory Staff - Personal Leave Evidentiary Requirements

SCOPE

The purpose of this Circular is to provide guidance on the evidence required to support an application for personal leave made by staff employed under the WA Health – Health Services Union – PACTS – Industrial Agreement 2011 (“the Agreement”).

GUIDELINES

An employee is required to submit evidence to satisfy a reasonable person in accordance with subclauses 36.28 and 36.29 of the Agreement:

36.28 An application for personal leave exceeding 2 consecutive working days will be supported by evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person of the entitlement.
36.29 In general, supporting evidence is not required for single or 2 consecutive day absences. However, where the employer has good reason to believe that the absence may not be reasonable or legitimate, the employer may request evidence be provided. The employer must provide the employee with reasons for requesting the evidence. The leave will not be granted where the absence is not reasonable or legitimate.

An employee may provide reasonable evidence other than a medical certificate, however in many cases the nature of the illness or injury will mean that a medical practitioner or relevant health professional (e.g. physiotherapist or dentist) will still be required to certify that an employee was unfit for work.

In certain circumstances line managers are able to approve personal leave on the basis of the obvious appearance and behaviour of an employee where they are satisfied that the employee is ill or injured.

Managers are required to assess each personal leave application in light of the relevant facts and circumstances.  What will be considered reasonable will depend on the circumstances of each case.

There may be some circumstances where it is reasonable for an employee to submit an application for personal leave supported by a statutory declaration and which includes the circumstances resulting in non-attendance with a medical practitioner or relevant health professional. 

Such circumstances will generally be where there is some difficulty in obtaining a medical certificate from a medical practitioner or relevant health professional.  Examples of where an application for personal leave supported by a statutory declaration may be considered reasonable are where an employee:

  • contacts their line manager and expects to return to work after two days absence (or less) but is still unable to attend work on the third day and is unable to secure an appointment before becoming fit to return to work;
  • is able to secure an appointment but is unable to obtain a certificate that covers the entire period of the absence;
  • attempts but is unable to secure an appointment at short notice;
  • has a recurrent illness or injury previously certified by a medical practitioner which is known to the line manager and causes a standard period of absence from work, e.g. dialysis treatment;
  • has an illness or injury that does not require prescription of medication or diagnosis and treatment by a medical practitioner or relevant health professional, e.g. a common cold.

Pursuant to subclauses 36.31 and 36.32,  in circumstances where there is doubt about the cause of an employee’s illness, or an absence extends over an excessive period or occurs with frequency and regularity, an employee may be required to obtain and furnish a report from a registered medical practitioner as to their condition.

An employee must see a registered medical practitioner if a workers’ compensation claim is to be submitted as the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 1981 (WA) and associated Regulations require a medical certificate in a prescribed form.

Where evidence is submitted to accompany an application for personal leave to provide care or support to a member of an employee’s family or household; or an unexpected emergency affecting the member, such evidence must address the requirement to care or support for another and/or the emergency.

Attachment 1 provides further guidelines and examples of the type of evidence that may be acceptable for the certification of personal leave.

Any queries regarding this circular can be sent to industrial.relations@health.wa.gov.au

Marshall Warner
DIRECTOR
HEALTH INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS SERVICE

Date of effect: 28 September 2011 to 30 June 2014

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Supporting information