Can My Boss Force Me to Work if I’m Sick?

Australia has very clear laws surrounding sick leave and the obligations of employers and employees alike. In general, these are very clearly defined and provide adequate levels of protection for both parties.

However, the chances are that you’re here because you’ve been asked to work, despite taking sick leave. In the rest of this article, we’ve outlined exactly what your obligations are here and what your boss can and can’t ask you to do. As always, make sure you speak with an employment lawyer if you have serious concerns that may require legal action.

Can I Be Denied Sick Leave?

To put it simply, no. If you request sick leave, and can provide a medical certificate or other proof that you are indeed ill, your employer has to grant it. There are some conditions where an employee can be dismissed for taking excessive amounts of leave, but this is rare.

In Australia, the Fair Work Act 2009 states that Australian’s have the right to paid sick leave when they aren’t fit for work. This stretches to include both physical and mental illness, as long as you can obtain medical proof.

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