Employers have criticised doctors who write medical certificates for workers who fake illnesses so they can use up all their sick leave just before resigning.
The claims were made by readers on the My Business website, with one employer describing the tactic as “a well-known trick”:
“The well-known ‘trick’ used by difficult employees when they are about to resign or have been ‘reasonably managed’ is to run off to the doctor and take all their sick leave, which can potentially run into weeks.”
“It is another way they know they can cause the business owner some pain. This is something else that needs to be addressed. Again the employees know to use the medical system to facilitate their bullying.”
But head of the Australian Medical Association, Doctor Richard Kidd, rejected the claims and suggested that employers could be part of the problem.
“As a GP, I’ve found a number of people who are in very difficult situations at their place of employment where they are being harassed, bullied, victimised, alienated and they may well be deemed to be difficult employees by the employer,” he said.
“The first thing to be aware of is that there is often two sides to a story, and, in this case, very often the people actually need to use that sick leave because the situation is untenable where they are and they actually can’t work.”
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Employer Advisors said bosses needed to carefully manage difficult employees, and look for reasons why they might not be happy in the workplace.
“It is very difficult to argue with a medical certificate from a doctor, so if you are finding a worker is taking a lot of time off, it could be that they are not happy, and that is probably worth investigating,” he said.
“It could be that they are being bullied or victimised, and you might not be aware of it.
“The best way to handle problems like this, is to stop them from happening in the first place – so always keep a close eye on your workers, and remember a happy workplace is a productive workplace.”
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