Submitting a fake doctor's note could cost you your job

CRS Technologies
CRS Technologies


Submitting a fake doctor’s note could cost you your job

It’s the law. If you are absent from work for more than two consecutive days, or more than twice within eight weeks, you have to provide a doctor’s note to your employer, according to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA).

Some employees, however, think nothing of using a fake doctor’s note to claim illness, when they were actually out and about having fun, or off on a mini holiday.

What they fail to realise, says Nicol Myburgh, Head: HCM Business Unit at CRS Technologies, is that the fabrication of sick notes is considered a fraudulent act which can put their jobs in jeopardy.

“The BCEA requires that a doctor’s note must be issued by a certified medical practitioner registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA),” he explains.

“The HPCSA has established stringent criteria for medical certificates, which must include specific details about the practitioner, the patient's name, examination date, a layman's description of the illness, and the recommended sick leave period.”

It’s not necessary for the sick note to contain the doctor’s diagnosis, unless the employee consents to this disclosure, he continues, but practitioners may frame the diagnosis in a way that respects the patient's comfort level.

“More importantly, the dates on which the employee is unable to work – not the date of the doctor’s visit – must be clearly stated.

“Additionally, the doctor’s signature alongside the employee’s name is essential to validate the sick note’s legitimacy.”

Anything suspicious such as altered dates or missing practitioner details should raise a red flag for employers.

Serious consequences

Sick notes are intended for genuine cases of inability to work and as such are geared to protecting both the employer and employee.

“Using a doctor’s note as a means to exploit leave for leisure purposes is a serious offense that

can result in a permanent breakdown of the trust relationship between the employer and the employer, Myburgh warns.

“This can lead to a disciplinary hearing and ultimately dismissal of the employee on grounds of fraud.”

Myburgh urges employers to ensure that submitted sick notes adhere to the strict criteria outlined by the HSPCA to prevent sick leave fraud and subsequent financial losses for companies.


About CRS

CRS Technologies is a leading provider of solutions and services to the growing human capital management industry, and an authorised South African distributor of the Engage™ suite of human resource and payroll products. The system leverages the best that cloud computing has to offer, whether SaaS (Software as a Service), hybrid or on-premise, and incorporates cutting-edge functionality and robust security features that can be tailored to suit the needs of any business.

Following its establishment in 1985, the Johannesburg-based company quickly found its niche in the human resources, people management and payroll sector and, owing to its ability to successfully manage the most complex scenarios, soon matured into the specialist of choice for blue chip organisations and SMMEs across the globe.

Today CRS is acknowledged as the most proficient international human resources and payroll company and is soon to become an accredited Microsoft payroll solution provider, integrating seamlessly with SAP Success Factors, Oracle Slack and SAGE, and helping to create workplaces of inspired, engaged and rewarded employees.

CRS’s approach to market is about maximising value between employer and employee, integrated with innovative technology that unlocks human potential and grows businesses.

CRS achieves competitive advantage through its commitment to global best practice in human capital management and its drive to transform human resource departments into strategic, value-added business units, be it through bespoke software and services or shared industry insight.

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Editorial contact:

Gloria Malan

(c) 082 340 2876