The BCEA states clearly in the section 23 that if an employee has been absent from work for more than two consecutive days (which means three days or more) then he is obliged to produce a medical certificate. A Friday is 1 day only, and a Monday is 1 day only, and the same applies to the day before and the day after a public holiday - those days each constitute only 1 day, and therefore no medical certificate is required. It is unlawful for an employer to insist that an employee produce a medical certificate for an absence on a Friday, or on a Monday, or on the Friday and the Monday, or for and absence on the day before or the day after a public holiday.

However, if the employee is absent on more than two occasions - even if the occasion is 1 day only - during the same eight-week period, then on the third occasion of absence during that eight-week period the employer is entitled to insist on a sick note, and if it is not produced, the employer is not obliged to pay the employee for the time-off.

If an employee is persistently absent on a Friday and / or Monday, in other words, the absence on those days becomes repetitive, excessive and / or habitual (or the absenteeism is deemed unacceptable), the employer has the right to insist that the employee submits a medical certificate for those absences. The employer will then be able to require a medical certificate for every day's absence due to ill health for the remainder of his or her current sick leave cycle.

It is recommended that as part of the employer's efforts to combat absenteeism, the employer should develop a clear policy regarding absence due to ill health. The policy should also state that the employer may set standards for acceptable levels of absenteeism and if an employee's level of absenteeism is deemed unacceptable, it could ultimately result in dismissal.


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