Recent Worklaw responses to subscriber helpline queries

Can an employee claim sick leave for elective surgery?

We have one situation where an employee has gone for a breast enlargement and second instance where an employee is undergoing artificial insemination and needs to stay at home for a few days after treatment.

You have got to smile... :)

Worklaw Response:

Ah! the wonderful world of HR!

Section 23 of the BCEA identifies 'sickness' and 'injury' as the grounds on which a doctor's certificate can say that an employee was unfit for work. Elective surgery and AI don't seem to fit into either category.

To avoid precedent being created, we recommend that annual leave or unpaid leave be granted.

Ian Webster
Is this any different from self-inflicted injury (intentional or otherwise)? Once the elective surgery has taken place, he or she is unfit for work. Painful as it may be, I would think it allowable. Hip replacement is also elective. It becomes tricky if the employer has to be the arbitrator of these things. That's what the medical certificate should do??

posted on: Thursday, August 23, 2012 - 5:41:50 PM

I think you are being a bit harsh here. I think if an employee goes in for surgery for whatever reason, she should be entitled to sick leave.

posted on: Monday, June 11, 2012 - 12:31:28 PM
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