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How taking a day ‘off sick’ could get you fired

Sick leave is a paid period of time off from work that employees can utilise to attend to their medical requirements at home without losing pay. Picture: Supplied

Sick leave is a paid period of time off from work that employees can utilise to attend to their medical requirements at home without losing pay. Picture: Supplied

Published May 3, 2023


It’s possible to lose your job if you make a sick call to work when you’re actually going to an event.

You are essentially breaking established company policy and lying to the corporation. A sick day is a day off from work taken to recover from a physical or mental illness, a medical condition, or an injury.

Without a doctor’s note, employees are entitled to one to two paid sick days per year. It’s not for those times, according to Nicol Myburgh, head of CRS Technologies’ HCM Business Unit, when you’d rather attend a party, event, or sporting activity than go to work.

In the expanding human capital planning market, CRS Technologies is a top supplier of products and services.

The Johannesburg-based business discovered its place in the human resources, people management, and payroll industries after being founded in 1985, and it quickly developed into the go-to specialist for blue-chip companies and SMMEs throughout the world.

With support from solutions and services that assist to build workplaces with inspired, engaged, and compensated people, CRS is today regarded as the most expert international human resources and payroll organisation.

Myburgh says that because South African labour regulations are so protective of workers, people frequently go beyond what is appropriate.

Abusing sick time, on the other hand, will get a worker in trouble, if not fired, and will fundamentally erode their relationship with their employer.

It is difficult to recover connections from someone who has lied to their management and co-workers, he continues.

Myburgh notes that many people believe they can get away with claiming illness because the law and the majority of company rules only require one to two days for a person to bring in a sick note to establish they were ill.

According to Myburgh, there have even been instances where an employee claimed to be sick in order to attend a sporting event, got found, lost his job, and then filed a lawsuit against the corporation.

When an employee behaves inappropriately, there are gaps and complexities that seriously limit how a firm may operate, which can encourage employees to take risks because they feel protected.

He claims that the business had every right to launch disciplinary actions in this specific case, which involved tricking the employer into believing the employee was ill.

Even if it’s simple for people to believe that it’s acceptable for them to gamble or toe the line between right and wrong, there are consequences.

If you’re considering pretending to be ill, think twice. If you get caught, it will hurt your working relationship, stunt your ability to advance in the organisation, and it may even cost you your job.

Read the latest issue of IOL Health digital magazine here.