Got your doctor’s note?

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 am, August 24th, 2010 - 19 comments
Categories: health, workers' rights - Tags:

It was only at the protest on the weekend that I learned about the Nats’ plan to make us get sick notes if we take a day off work for ourselves or to look after a sick family member.

Basically, the Nats think you and I are a bunch of liars and cheats who take sickies all the time. They think that forcing us to get sick notes will scare us off and we’ll go to work instead.

What an insult to working Kiwis.

More than that, you’ve got to think about the practical consequences. How many workers who are sick will balk at the cost of going to the GP for a note and go to work instead, risking their health and that of their workmates?

And what an enormous waste of resources. Already, our GPs and clinics are over-stressed and the government is cutting funding in this part of the health sector so that Tony Ryall can produce impressive stats in the ‘glamour’ area of elective surgery. Imagine if every Kiwi worker has to turn up to the doctor two or three times extra a year. What’s that, 6 million extra visits? Ludicrous.

Apparently, the doctors are dead set against this stupid waste of resources. And they should be. I’m not going to pretend that people don’t take sickies from time to time but let’s say that 10% of sick days really are people pulling sickies, and that this law would put off half of them… would it really be worth taking up the doctor’s time for 19 other sick notes?

This is just bad, wasteful policy from a government that has no understanding of efficient use of scarce resources and thinks that workers are all scumbags who need a good kicking.

19 comments on “Got your doctor’s note?”

  1. Chuck 1

    …from a government that has no understanding of efficient use of scarce resources and thinks that workers are all scumbags who need a good kicking.

    But not before they pay tax or make employers rich. Very important that. Always get mule to do work first, before beating it to death.

  2. g-sus 2

    they also seem to expect that appointments will be free that day…. I mean whats the point when the reality is that yr doc will say ‘sure I can fit you in next Tuesday’…

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Every time I’ve been sick and needed to see a doctor, I’ve managed to get an appointment on the same day without any problems. Maybe I’m just lucky, though. I also don’t live in Auckland.

    • Deborah Kean 2.2

      Absolutely true, g-sus! It’s always the case with my local…

  3. Bill 3

    It’s got nothing to do with the Nats thinking workers throw sickies.

    It’s about the scum employers (as opposed to the good ones) getting off on paying a wage for time not spent at work. They don’t believe you will be frightened into going to work. They don’t care either way. The point is a simple one.

    No sick note will equal time off without pay…or a pull down on holidays owing.

    And if borderline income forces you into work and workmates get sick, then hey.

    The reality is that sick leave provision in NZ is pathetically inadequate anyway. Apparently no worker gets sick in the first 6 months of employment. If they do, tough. No pay.

    And women with children…and it’s women who are more inclined to look after sick family members…gets no more sick leave provision than anyone else.

    I admit to getting a bit sickened by the response to this whole ‘fire at will’ crap. eg.

    1. Why aren’t the inadequacies of current sick leave provisions being high lighted and a better deal being demanded as opposed to rather pathetic whimperings of how the changes are not very fair as though what we’ve got is worth a shit.

    2. Why isn’t a robust demand for a living wage…not a minimum wage…being pushed for as a response to the idea that annual leave could be traded in for cash? Alternatively…or additionally…why are all wage claims not demanding a %age increase that equates to a week of leave that is not negotiable and that sits separate from all other wage demands?

    • Bright Red 3.1

      was isn’t Bill writing a guest post, rather than complaining that nobody writes what he would write?

      • Bill 3.1.1

        And just where the fuck was it exactly that I complained that Marty ( or anyone else) wasn’t writing what I would write?

        Are you suggesting that not being in agreement with every aspect or assertion of a post, and submitting alternative thoughts or perspectives in the comments is the same as complaining that ‘no-body’ is writing what I would write?

        Evidently, you’re a pathetic whining little ‘lock-step loving’ little git. And don’t go fucking complaining that I haven’t written what you’d have written on that front. Okay?

  4. Alex 4

    I’m a GP. We cannot cope with the number of people we need to see who are unwell. What sort of ridiculousness is it to insist people see a doctor for a medical certificate if they are not unwell, or need one day off?

    Who will pay for the people that cannot get appointments and end up in hiospital because our waiting rooms are full of the well seeking a note?

    It’s insulting and infantalising and bloody stupid. What’s so wrong about BELIEVING adults?

    • The Voice of Reason 4.1

      I think it’s because they don’t see us as adults, just malfunctioning labour units.

  5. Lats 5

    It’ll result in some enterprising GP’s setting up shop selling medical certificates. Front up at the local clinic, pay your $15, the receptionist will give you a pre-signed cert, and off you go. In and out in about 5 minutes without seeing a doctor. At least, that’s what I’d do. Easy money.

  6. The Voice of Reason 6

    “How many workers who are sick will balk at the cost of going to the GP for a note and go to work instead, risking their health and that of their workmates?”

    My recollection is that Wilkinson said the boss would have to pay, not the worker. I presume that was a mistake and not what she intended. As presented, this proposal only changes the current arrangement slightly, by removing the requirement that the boss had to have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect cheating. If they had reasonable grounds, they could, under the current law, require a doctors note.

    It’s also worth noting that the boss has to pay reasonable expenses involved in getting the sick note. Usually that will be the taxi fare, because if you are too sick to work, you’re too sick to drive. I can’t see too many bosses stumping up for both the doc and the cabbie, so this is clearly a poorly thought out faux change, which has not been asked for by any sane boss.

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      “because if you are too sick to work, you’re too sick to drive”
      Urm, not really. It is very easy to be too sick to work but still be able to drive. Particularly if you are concerned about infecting everyone else in the office.

      • The Voice of Reason 6.1.1

        I was making a suggestion for what you should say when the boss tells you he wants a doctor’s note. “hey boss, I’m happy to do it, but it’s going to cost you $40 for the doc and $40 for the cab. Do you still want me to go?”

  7. Alex 7

    Under the holidays Act if an employer wants a certificate after 1 day because, basically they suspect malingering, they have to pay for the consultation. You are not required to produce a certificate for 3 consecutive days otherwise.

    Quite a few employers though have a ‘policy’ of needing a note after 1 day. Of course what that usually means is 2 days off, one when sick and the other when you can finally get a non-urgent appointment with your GP to say you were sick last week…


  8. Dave 8

    The saddest thing is the lowest paid occupations like hospitality/tourism and retail are the most affected as they deal with food, so, if they get any sort of contagious sickness (like diarrhoea) its going to cost them bigtime.

    the election can’t come quick enough

  9. Mark 9

    Can anyone post a link to a site that confirms that this IS actually one of Nationals plans? I’m sceptical? Marty G, how exactly did you ‘learn’ about this plan? I’ve looked through bills in the pipeline and have found nothing of this sort.

  10. Cynical_Joker 10

    A enterprising Medical centre should offer “Employer mandated same-day appointments” at $100+ each.
    As the employer would have to pay, that should close down this ridiculous law.

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