Nearly every small business on the East Coast is currently near breaking point as their staff are either forced into isolation or are falling ill with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. This has led to a large number of queries regarding the usual requirements to provide medical certificates when absent due to illness.
The National Employment Standards provide that an Employer may, if they desire, “require” an employee to provide a medical certificate or some other “reasonable” evidence that they were ill and required the use of Personal Leave. Many Employers choose to require the production of such evidence to ensure they are paying for leave that is accessed on a legitimate basis. At the present time, however, it is next to impossible for employees to provide a medical certificate if they are ill with flu-like symptoms because they are unable to attend a Medical General Practice. Also, enormous queues are making it virtually impossible to obtain a PCR test that could determine if they are positive for Covid and thus be entitled to Personal Leave. The scarce availability of Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) makes this avenue also not worth pursuing.
As an Employer, if you still wish to insist on evidence being provided as reasonable evidence for use of Personal Leave, we suggest your employee provide a completed Statutory Declaration (download a template here) stating that they were ill on the days requested as personal leave.
A Statutory Declaration is deemed by the Fair Work Act to be “reasonable” evidence of the need to take Personal Leave and must be accepted by the Employer. If an Employee swears a false Statutory Declaration, they face the risk of prosecution for perjury as well as termination for lying to their Employer.