March 13, 2008

Following our notice issued 14 December, the Department has stepped up its harassment of members who access their entitlement to sick leave under the Awards (permanent and retained).

The four points below are issued as a simple yet comprehensive guide regarding your rights and responsibilities on medical certificates and your medical records generally:

  • you do not have to release medical records to the Department, and should not do so before contacting the Union first;
  • you do not have to give your consent for your GP to speak or release records to the Department, and again should not do so before contacting the Union first;
  • the medical certificates you supply do not have to contain a diagnosis. The Union advises that medical certificates should only state the period for which you are unfit for duty and the date upon which you which you are fit to return to duty; and
  • members who have difficulty seeing a doctor (a growing problem in country NSW in particular) do not have to use other forms of leave to cover their absence due to illness. Both the permanent and retained Awards allow the Department to dispense with the need for the provision of a medical certificate, and the Department has assured the Union that it will waive the need for a medical certificate if it can be satisfied that it was not possible for a member on sick leave to see a doctor on the day(s) in question.

The Department has in the recent past threatened to dock the wages and/or deduct the leave of members whose doctors have not supplied a diagnosis on their medical certificates. Again, any member who is the subject of similar warnings or threats is advised to contact the Union office immediately.

Simon Flynn

State Secretary