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Dunne: War on sickies, but not one-day sick notes

Media Statement
Monday, 19 July 2010

Hon Peter Dunne
MP for Ohariu
Leader of UnitedFuture

Dunne: Wage war on sickies, but one-day sick notes not workable

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne today questioned suggestions employees should have to supply sick notes for as little as a day’s sick leave.

“I think it is time to put the blowtorch to the great New Zealand tradition of a ‘sickie’, so I understand allowing employers to question the validity of an employee’s absence if they suspect a ‘sickie’, but I think the idea needs to be thought through considerably more than it appears to be,” Mr Dunne said.

“Frankly, it does not seem workable to apply it universally.

“Quite apart from the fact that it’s a considerable imposition on the employee, who might not wish to drag themselves or an ill child off to the doctor for what really requires no more than 24 hours’ bed rest, it also will often just not work.

“It’s not always possible to get an appointment with a doctor on the very day you fall ill. Is the employee then to forgo sick leave for that day, when they can’t see a doctor through any fault of their own?” Mr Dunne asked.

“Nor may it be practical to get a doctor’s certificate for a passing flu or stomach bug, or a migraine headache.

“If the idea were to proceed, the law would need to be tightly drafted to make it clear that an employer would have to have due cause to suspect a ‘sickie’, but that may prove too difficult to design in practice to make the idea a goer,” he said.


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