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Extended leave due to illness, what happens next?


We know a well and healthy team is crucial to the success of any business. When Employees are off for extended time due to injury or illness it can have a major impact on your team and the business. What can you do without a return to work date in sight?  Medical Incapacity can be applied when an Employee is unable to fulfil the needs of their employment due to illness or injury and Employers can consider dismissing the Employee due to incapacity.

During your Employees absence;

  • Keep in touch with them while they are off work – provide support where you can
  • Get a Medical Declaration form signed enabling you to speak with their medical professionals and/or ACC Case Manager
  • Gain an understanding from ACC and their medical professionals on an estimated return to work date
    • Arrange a workplace assessment through ACC or privately
    • If they do return to work, will they be able to return to the same position, carrying out the same tasks
    • If applicable, should you consider medical retirement
  • Is the Employee on ACC and will possibly be accruing leave

If an Employee looks as though they are unable to return to work in the foreseeable future, you may decide to terminate employment due to Medical Incapacity, however;

  • Check the Employee’s Employment Agreement regarding Medical Incapacity
  • Have you taken into account all other options ie; alternative tasks, light duties, work place assessment report?
  • Is the decision to terminate fair and reasonable?
  • Are you able to hold the position open ?
  • Was the employee offered an opportunity to seek advice and have a representative present at the meetings?

The process to terminate an Employee due to Medical Incapacity can take a number of weeks, involving numerous meetings. You must ensure that you have reviewed all information and ascertained the needs of the business prior to proceeding with termination.

For more information or if you require a Medical Incapacity clause in your Employment Agreement, give our team a call, 09 299 2525.

Claire | People Guru

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