Personal/Carers Leave: the bosses don’t trust us

March 16, 2001

The Union Office has recently become aware of various memos from certain Regional Commanders concerning award provisions relating to Personal/Carers Leave. In particular, whether the Department requires members to produce a medical certificate or statutory declaration in support of such leave.

Said Regional Commanders appear to have taken it upon themselves to interpret the awards on a region by region basis, causing confusion and frustration among members seeking to access Personal/Carers Leave. Having said that, the Award provisions clearly give the Department the discretionary right to require either a medical certificate or statutory declaration. The critical point we have raised with the Department is that such a policy change should be discussed with the Union in the first instance and before implementation. These provisions were in the 1997 Award, and this would appear to be a change in the way the Department applies the clause.

The clause was inserted in our awards (indeed, in all NSW state awards) by way of a general order of the IRC in 1996 – so it is a State Test Case standard provision.

There are safeguards for members, however – you have the right to choose the method by which the ground for leave is established ie by either the production of a medical certificate or a stat dec. It is important to note that in relation to privacy considerations, there is no requirement for the nature of the illness of the person requiring care to be revealed in either a medical certificate or stat dec.

Chris Read
State Secretary



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