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Employee ordered to pay back sick leave

Dec 01 2015 07:53

A Fin24 user who was told to pay for the incapacity leave she applied for six years ago, seeks advice.

She writes: "I would appreciate it if you could advice me on the following.

I was recently called in by HR to inform me that incapacity sick leave I applied for in 2009 was not approved. Now in 2015 I was told that I have to pay back three days. Can this be allowed this many years after actually applying for the leave?"

Charl F Marais Labour Law Practitioner and HR (BCom Law) specialist answers:

The answer is no, the employer should not be able to deduct the three days unpaid sick leave at this stage. One would always look at the employment contract, the company's sick leave policy and compare those with what the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and the Labour Relations Act (LRA) provides. Sick leave is treated in three-year cycles, and an employer would best deal with any disputes, deductions or approvals within the cycle in question.

Six years would be deemed as an unreasonable delay. Even though the BCEA and LRA does not specifically deal with delays such as these, a strong case may be made for this deduction, after six years, to be deemed an unfair labour practice by the CCMA.

Having said that, the employee should first attempt to discuss the issue in a minuted meeting with the employer, and if the matter is not resolved, lodge a grievance with HR. If all these steps fail, the employee may refer the issue as an unfair labour practice to the CCMA or relevant Bargaining Council. All avenues must be explored before litigation.

Best of luck to the employee!

Disclaimer: Fin24 cannot be held liable for any investment decisions made based on the advice given by independent financial service providers. Under the ECT Act and to the fullest extent possible under the applicable law, Fin24 disclaims all responsibility or liability for any damages whatsoever resulting from the use of this site in any manner.

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