WA Elective Surgery - Take Sick Leave or Annual Leave?

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Belinda _S

Member
8 October 2015
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Hello

I have an elective surgery coming up in a few months and am finding the rules regarding elective surgery and sick leave unclear. I've read the below post but am still unsure how to interpret it.

The elective surgery that I am having is not for a condition that causes me to be unfit for work, however, during the recovery time post op, I will be unfit for work.

Should post-surgery, the time when I am unfit for work, be taken as annual leave or am I eligible for sick leave?
 

Victoria S

Well-Known Member
9 April 2014
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Medical appointments and elective surgeries that are pre-arranged can only be covered by sick leave if an employee is not able to work because of a personal illness or injury. It will depend on each individual circumstance, but generally this would mean that your situation, where your pre-surgery condition does not cause you to be unfit for work, would not be covered by sick leave. You would have to use some other type of leave.

You could however ask your employer and see what they say, they may be willing to extend sick leave to you for the surgery.
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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I thought: if the elective surgery makes you unfit to work during the post-operative recovery phase then it counts as sick leave. The Fair Work Act doesn't define a reason for a personal illness but a medical certificate will be required. But note I have no information through case law confirming this one way or t'other.

If time is needed off before surgery this is not sick leave.
 

Victoria S

Well-Known Member
9 April 2014
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If sick leave was intended to cover someone for the period they were unfit for work because of elective surgery then what wouldn't be covered and why the distinction?

For example if someone has a sports injury which prevents them from running but does not make them unfit for work, having elective surgery to fix that injury would render them unfit for work - why should the employer have to pay for their employee to voluntarily become unfit for work?
 

Rod

Lawyer
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27 May 2014
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Sick leave doesn't need a justification, just a medical certificate.

Injuries playing sport, at home falling off ladders, car accidents, surgery (elective or otherwise), etc all qualify for sick leave.

Injuries do not have to happen at work. That's why there is workcover.

Employers are not paying sick leave. Employees pay for it through their own exertion and the allowance is built into wages and salaries. To think otherwise ignores history.
 
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kimsland

Well-Known Member
6 February 2017
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Sick leave means you are too ill to come to work, a doctors certificate (or pharmacy certificate) confirms this. No employer can question that, they are not doctors (unless they are? :) )