Case scenario

Jillian has just picked up her daughter from childcare and comes into your pharmacy looking quite distressed. Sarah has been very irritable and will not settle. Jillian is supposed to be working now and asks you, the pharmacist, if you can provide her with an absence from work certificate.

Learning objectives

After reading this article, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Explain absence from work certificates
  • Identify when absence from work certificates can and cannot be issued
  • Discuss legal requirements around issuing absence from work certificates.

Competency standards (2016) addressed: 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 4.2, 4.3

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Introduction

An absence from work certificate is ‘a form of evidence used to confirm that an employee is unable to attend work either due to illness, injury, or having to care for family or a household member’.1 The Fair Work Act 2009 states that an employee may take personal or carer’s leave if they are unable to work due to an illness or injury, or if they are required to care for an immediate family member or household member due to an illness or injury, or an unexpected emergency.2 The employer may require the employee to provide evidence that the leave has been taken for these valid reasons.2

Pharmacists may issue a certificate for absence from work to someone for either personal or carer’s leave, provided this is within their scope of practice (defined as ‘the professional role and services that an individual health practitioner i

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