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Employee Sick Leave entitlements

Determining how much and when Sick Leave must be paid in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act can be a frustrating exercise. This note attempts to clarifiy some of the issues.

HOW MUCH SICK LEAVE TO PAY ?
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act states ...
- During every (3 year) Sick Leave Cycle, an employee is entitled to an amount of paid sick leave equal to the number of days the employee would normally work during a period of 6 weeks.
- During the first 6 months of employment, an employee is entitled to one day’s paid sick leave for every 26 days worked.

To clarify ....

- The employee is entitled to ...
+24 days sick leave per 3 year cycle, if the employee works 4 days a week.
+30 days sick leave per 3 year cycle, if the employee works 5 days a week.
+36 days sick leave per 3 year cycle, if the employee works 6 days a week, and so on.

- After the initial 6 months from date of employment, an employee can take part of or the full number of days entitled at any time during the 3 year cycle. At the beginning of the next cycle, untaken Sick Leave cannot be carried over from the previous cycle, but an employee becomes entitled to the next batch of days again.

- Should the employment relationship be terminated for whatever reason, the Employer may not deduct any Sick Leave paid previously in excess of the pro-rata amount accumulated in the Sick Leave Cycle, nor need any pro-rata Sick Leave accumulated but not taken be paid out.

REQUIREMENTS FOR SICK LEAVE TO BE PAID ?

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act states...
- An Employer is not required to pay an employee Sick Leave, if the employee has been absent from work for more than 2 consecutive days or on more than 2 occasions during an 8 week period, and on request of the Employer does not produce a Medical Certificate stating that the employee was unable to work for the duration of his/her absence on account of sickness or injury.
- The Medical Certificate must be issued and signed by a medical practitioner or other person who is certified to diagnose and treat patients, and is registered with a professional council established by an Act of Parliament.

To clarify...

- In general, for Sick Leave to be paid, an employee must submit a Medical Certificate.
+ However, if a Medical Certificate is not submitted, Sick Leave need not be paid if an employee ... was absent for more than 2 consecutive days on this latest occasion, OR had been paid Sick Leave previously on 2 or more occasions in the past 8 weeks.

Pierre Leon Myburgh