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May 14, 2018 | by  | in Ask the Advocate Opinion |
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Ask the Advocate

I was sick off work last week for 2 days, and my boss is hesitant to give me sick pay and asked for a medical certificate to show that I really was ill. Is she allowed to do this? Then, when I looked on my payslip, my sick days aren’t even recorded so I’m not sure how many I’m allowed to take.
Yours, Ill Bill.
Hi Bill,
If you’ve worked there for 6 months, you are allowed 5 days of sick leave. You then get 5 more days every 12 months, which can accumulate to up to 20 days. Even if you only go home after working half a day, this still counts as using up one sick day, unless you agree otherwise with your employer. Obviously, sick leave only covers a day when you would have been working.

If you’ve run out of sick leave, you can ask to use up annual holiday leave instead. Unlike holiday pay, sick leave isn’t paid out at the end of employment.

Let your employer know as soon as you realise that you won’t be able to work.

If you are sick for less than three days, your employer can ask for a medical certificate but they will have to cover the cost of your visit to the doctor to get one. If you are sick for three or more days (including a three-day period with a scheduled break), your employer can ask for a certificate which you have to pay for. If you don’t give them any proof that you were sick, you might not get paid out for sick leave.

Your employment contract might also contain more or different terms, and outline the company policy on sick leave, but this can’t take away your basic rights.

Your employer must keep a record of your sick days, wages, etc., and if they don’t do so they are liable for a fine of $1,000 issued by a labour inspector or the Employment Relations Authority. Ask them where they keep their records, and if nothing else, make sure that you keep track yourself.
Feel better soon!

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