VIC Using Personal Leave for Medical Appointments?

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Cmdr88

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13 March 2015
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My question concerns the kind of leave and amount of leave taken for normal medical appointments, in-surgery procedures and so on.

It seems to be the situation that sick leave can now only be taken when you are sufficiently sick so as not to be able to work. The standard advice on the Web seems to be to discuss with the employer the type of leave to be debited for doctors' appointments and so on.

In the workplace in question, the EA provides for 'personal leave', and the personal leave includes sick leave. So I assume a doctor's appointment could be debited against personal leave credits, provided there is a certificate from the doctor. In other words, the issue of sick leave and its use does not apply in practice in the situation where 'personal leave' is provided for in the EA, and someone wants to use personal leave for medical appointments.

Here comes the interesting bit. In order to maximise the burn rate of employees' personal leave, the employer has published internal procedures specifying that personal leave can be taken only in half-day chunks. So if you have to see a doctor for 10 minutes in order to get a prescription renewed, you are debited for half a day personal leave.

Now there is nothing in the Fair Work Act or the EA to endorse this practice. I assume it is unlawful. But I cannot put my finger on exactly why.
 

Rod

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27 May 2014
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There is no minimum time. An internal procedure does not override the EA or law.
 

Cmdr88

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13 March 2015
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I am unsure whether it is as plain as that. The FWA and EA are silent on the question.

My guess is that the question would revolve around what a court or tribunal deemed 'reasonable'.

For example, as an employer I could claim that boutique programming would be required, at extraordinary and obscene expense, for my elaborate HR software, in order to deal with periods less than half a day. This would be quite disproportionate to the need.

It also would be unreasonable to expect any employer to suffer other admin costs in dealing with minuscule periods of time, such as 10 minutes. What's the next demand from the United Troublemakers' Union? 10 seconds?

Moreover, none of our employees have yet run out completely of 'personal leave', hehe!

So our half-day rule is eminently reasonable!
 

Rod

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for my elaborate HR software

This is unlikely to be true.

... such as 10 minutes

Unrealistic short time frame. Nearly everyone spends the first 10-20 mins waiting. Then you have travel time there and back and consultation time.

So our half-day rule is eminently reasonable!

Ummm, .... no. Employers do not get to set a minimum leave period. Refusing to allow an employee to return to work when they are fit and able is probably a breach of employment conditions.

What's the next demand from the United Troublemakers' Union? 10 seconds?

Come back and post if any such demand is made. Almost as bad as an employer trying to force a 4 hr minimum, what's next, a 2 day minimum personal leave period because incompetent HR managers buy software not fit for purpose?

Moreover, none of our employees have yet run out completely of ' personal leave', hehe!

Not relevant.