Proof of Sickness Requirements Changing

General / 25 March 2017
Proof of Sickness Requirements Changing

The Holidays Act 2003 (the Act) will change as of 31 January 2018, to allow the health practitioners as listed below to certify whether someone is medically unfit or fit to work.  Currently, this ability is restricted to medical practitioners (eg, doctors).  The extension will cover:


Occupational Therapists
Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians
The change is part of a broader move, by the update of relevant laws, to recognise the expertise of these health practitioners who are registered with their relevant professional board and regulated by the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003.  The intent is to allow them to meet patient needs in a more cost-effective and timely way.

What does this mean for you?
For employers, the change means that employees will be able to provide proof of sickness or injury from a broader range of people, and will likely make this proof even easier to get.  We frequently deal with employers who are frustrated at having received a blanket “unfit for work” medical certificate, where they don’t have any information about the specific condition the employee is dealing with or how that affects their ability to work.  We expect employers are likely to need to request information from employees about their illness or injury more often, relying on their duty to ensure the workplace is healthy and safe for all workers, and on the duty of good faith which includes a requirement that employees engage and communicate with the employer.

Now is a great time to ensure that you have the right clauses in your employment agreements to make sure that what is expected of employees is clearly set out.  If you would like advice in respect of how this change will impact your business, please contact us.


Disclaimer: We remind you that while this article provides commentary on employment law and health and safety topics, it should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice for specific situations. Please seek legal advice from your lawyer for any questions specific to your workplace.

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