What can you do while on sick leave?
Fri, 14 Sep 2012 7:00p.m.
Who hasn’t taken a sick leave day, but not stayed home in bed to recuperate?
A Gisborne man, Bruce Taiapa took sick leave but went to two sports tournaments, as a spectator, over in the Bay of Plenty. He was found out because his employer found a picture of him at the events on Facebook.
He was fired, but Bruce says going to the tournaments was his way of healing. He took it to the Employment Relations Authority and lost.
So what can you do on sick leave?
Whena Owen found an employment lawyer who has very definite ideas about what you can and can't do when you're off sick.
You may be surprised.
Watch the video to see Whena’s report.
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21/09/2012 8:07:18 p.m.
I remember being asked to 'please explain' because I'd been seen in town while I was off sick....I had been taken to the chemist after seeing a doctor, and when I was seen, I was propping up the door of the chemist, hardly able to stand while I waited to be collected.
But going to a sports match ? That is not reasonable.He should, perhaps, have been given a second chance-unless this was one ! Healing, indeed.it's sick leave, not relaxing leave ! We have all pulled sickies when we haven't been as ill as we made ourselves out to be, but to go to a major match is very silly.
18/09/2012 7:04:13 p.m.
We support Bruce! wrote:
I think what happened is absolutely crazy! Verbal/Written warning maybe? but to be fired? This man has dedicated his life to many children and youth with no monetary reward but the satisfaction of playing a role in their lives to better themselves. He is a humble man and has the support of many in our community. He was made an example of by his employer and I hate the fact that the good man he is was not even mentioned? We all have different ways of relaxing and healing and to be away from his family at these times would not help the situation I would think? He is not related to me but has played a huge part in my boys lives making them better men? He had a doctors cert? He wasn't running a marathon or at the gym but sitting in the spectators grandstand? Warning yes-Firing-NO!
18/09/2012 12:33:05 p.m.
Sick is sick , taking sick days for anything but genuine illness , medical appointments , or looking after a sick child or family member is abusing the trust of your employer , in other words abusing your employer.
It is abhorent for people to abuse sick leave.
17/09/2012 7:22:53 p.m.
Many amongst us are prone to abuse our sick leave entitlements and for this reason it used to be quite common for employers to demand a medical certificate or receipt from the doctor after three consecutive days off on sick leave. The ERA was right (in principle at least) to uphold the employer’s actions. Too many people are like Matt and confuse annual leave with sick leave entitlements. Sick days are reserved for rest and recuperation, not recreation.
15/09/2012 2:49:06 p.m.
As a matter of principle, you shouldn't be able to work, so if you are at a match it implies you aren't that sick. Firing him seems a bit unnecessary. A verbal warning should have done depending on past history.
15/09/2012 1:15:27 p.m.
Sickness leave is an entitlement of the employee. You are entitled to a set amount and what the employee does with it is of NO concern to the employer. In my view, the employee has the right to use how ever they see fit. Who is the employer to dictate how and where someone is to heal themselves. I really feel for this man. I believe whole heartedly that he was acting morally and ethically. I hope he enjoyed himself; we all know the power of laughter and happiness has upon healing the sick. Have we forgotten that marvellous movie starring Robin Williams, Patch Adams?
I actually believe the law needs to be extended to imply that you don't even have to be sick to use sick leave, it is an entitlement you should be able to call upon when required regardless of whether you are sick or not.
14/09/2012 11:40:58 p.m.
employers absolutely should not have that much control over your life. this story just goes to show employers are a far bigger threat to your personal freedom than "big government" ever will be
14/09/2012 10:23:51 p.m.
I agree Kay. I have even been known to work from my hospital bed post op.Sick leave is a back up to be taken if necessary not a right to have when you feel like it. If you need a break then that is what annual leave is for.
14/09/2012 9:17:19 p.m.
Kay Bermingham wrote:
Yes I think 99% of people have taken sick days for another reason, but I thought I'd read in the local newspaper that Mr Taiapa had applied for annual leave for these days and was declined so then took sick leave instead. Employers have the right to decline annual leave and I'm sure in most circumstances would only do so if the employee was required to be at work for an important reason or that the employee has no annual leave to take. Many employees take their employer for a 'ride' and its a 'ride' the country can ill afford. I say well done to the employer and the Employment Relations Authority.
14/09/2012 9:04:44 p.m.
When I'm sick I like to take the whanau out to Rainbow's End and go on the Pirate Swing and the Rollercoaster.
And laughing. Laughter is the best medicine.
I just tell the boss that I'm Maori and it's all good mate. Respect my culture cuz.
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