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Personal Leave – Are Certificates from Pharmacists Acceptable?

A common area of confusion among employers is medical certificates. Many employers have the misconception that proof of an employee’s illness must always come in the form of medical certificate by a registered medical practitioner. However, this is not always the case and sometimes employers may accept certificates issued by a pharmacist.

The Law

Under s 107(3) of the Fair Work Act 2009 an employee must, when requested by an employer, provide the employer evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person that leave has been taken for the appropriate reason. According to the Explanatory Memorandum of the Fair Work Bill 2009, the main types of evidence are medical certificate or statutory declaration.

It might not be reasonable for employers to request medical certificates on every occasion that an employee is ill. For example, an absence over a one to two day period would usually be considered a relatively short period of time. Therefore, requesting evidence other than a medical certificate may be reasonable.
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