In this article, we answer the questions that you may be asking according to sick leave and what employees are entitled to and what counts as proof for a sick day.

Questions: How much sick leave is an employee entitled to?

If an employee works five days a week, he’s allowed 30 days paid sick leave in three years. If he works six days a week, he’s entitled to 36 days paid sick leave in three years.

Questions: What proof is needed for sick leave to be paid?

You don’t have to pay an employee for sick leave if he’s absent from work for more than two consecutive days or on more than two occasions during an eight–week period and, at your request, does not present a sick note (Section 23 (1) of the BCEA 75 of 1997.

Question: Does the sick note have to tell you the nature of the illness?

No, it’s enough for the medical practitioner to say ‘medical condition’ on the sick note. The employee does not have to disclose the nature of the illness to you and you cannot insist on such information being provided.

Question: If an employee falls ill during annual leave, must the employee get paid sick leave Or must the employee’s annual leave be extended?

No, the employee does not get any additional pay, nor does the employee get extra leave days for the days on which he was ill.

Section 22 (5)(a) of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act provides that an employer must pay an employee for a day’s sick leave the wage the employee would ordinarily have received for work on that day. As the employee is on leave he would not work on that day, the employee is therefore not entitled to sick leave for those two days.

Questions: Is it sick leave if an employee goes for a medical check-up and returns with a medical certificate?

Technically no – sick leave is to be used in cases where the employee is incapacitated due to injury or illness to such an extent that the employee cannot perform his work.

An employee who goes for a medical check-up is required to return to work as soon as the consultation is over. A medical check-up does not qualify an employee to take a day’s sick leave unless the medical practitioner requests the employee not to return to work and the employee must then submit a medical certificate for the day.

Should the employee take the entire day off and not produce a medical certificate, the employee must then take either annual leave or unpaid leave.

Medical certificates that are valid must be issued by any one of the following professionals:

  • Medical practitioner (doctor MBChB degree) that is registered with the Health Professionals Council of SA (HPCSA).
  • A dentist that is registered with the HPCSA.
  • Psychologist with a master’s degree in research, counselling or clinical psychology that is registered with the HPCSA.

Next Steps.

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