As an employer you may have been presented with medical certificates containing nothing more than ‘This patient was seen by me on date and in my opinion is/has been unfit for work from date until further notice’.
These medical certificates provide you with little or no information regarding the diagnosis or prognosis of the illness (particularly in situations where the workplace is alleged to have contributed to the absence). Together with your inability to make further enquiries because of patient privacy, this makes managing your employee’s absence difficult and frustrating.
The Medical Council of New Zealand is reviewing medical certificate standards. Amongst the proposals are that more information (such as a diagnosis) is provided, there’s more guidance on what duties your employee is fit for, as well as some advice on disclosure.
If implemented, the proposed will provide you with more information surrounding your employee’s absence. You’ll have more information to not only see through ‘sickies’ but to also manage your employee’s return to work.
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