An employer does not have a legal right to dismiss an employee because they have exercised a workplace right to take leave. Our law states that disciplinary procedures need to be fair and reasonable therefore, terminating an employee on leave or who is temporarily absent from work as a result of an injury or illness is prohibited under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

As an employee who is currently suffering from an injury or illness, you are required to notify your employer within 24 hours of your absence from work or within a reasonable amount of time. When notifying your employer you are required to provide them with a medical certificate or a statutory declaration explaining the circumstances of your absence and what you are suffering from.

Furthermore, as an employee who has been absent from work for more than 3 months as a result of an injury or illness, your employer will not have the right to terminate your employment. However, if you have a condition and you are well aware, of what you are suffering from, you should notify your employer. If your employer, is unaware of your surrounding circumstances they may consider termination on the basis that you are unable to fulfil the inherent requirements of your role.

An employer should manage all returning employees carefully and sensitively. The reason being that if an employee believes that they have been treated adversely or unfairly upon their return, they can bring a claim against their employer for a breach of the general protections under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

For further in depth information regarding this blog please refer to our Managers Toolkit or alternatively, give us a call on (02) 9199 8597.

John Morrissey