Abuse of Sick Leave and Leave
Employees are entitled to sick leave during a cycle of 36 months with the same employer. During this
period the employee is entitled to sick leave equal to the days an employee will normally work in 6
weeks. In the first 6 months of employment the employee is entitled to one day’s paid sick leave for 26
days worked. The employee cannot take more sick leave in the first cycle than 1 day/26 days. On the 7th
month of the first cycle, the full 30 days becomes available, less the days the employee has taken during
the first 6 months. From now on there is no restriction per month on the employee. Therefore, if the
employee does not take sick leave during the first 6 months, the employee will have 30 days available
on month 7. If the employee became ill in the first six months, the employee can only take 1 day/26
days and on month 7 the days taken must be deducted, so if the employee took 3 days then on month 7
the employee will have 27 days sick leave available. Sick leave is not granted for illness of a child, family
responsibility leave should be used for this.
Frequent absence due to illness will probably not be a misconduct case but rather one of incapacity.
Make sure that the employer distinguishes between the two. If it is abuse, then it is a misconduct,
which can lead to dismissal if repeated. Very often, when this type of offence occurs, it is always on the
same day of the week or month and you will be able to establish some kind of pattern of abuse.
Typically, the absence would be on a Friday or a Monday, or the day before or the day after a public
holiday. Sometimes it would be on payday, or the day before pay day as well as payday, or the day after
payday. Whatever the case, there is always a pattern that gives rise to suspicion of abuse of sick leave.