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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22311
Experience:  37 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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Following feedback as part of an employees annual review

Customer Question

Following feedback as part of an employees annual review process the employee refused to return to work, and said that they were taking the rest of the day of as a mental health day. She then did not come in the following day, offering to get a medical certificate (her manager was away & did not respond). The day after that she was on pre-booked annual leave for three weeks, and she resigned. I was told by my payroll person that it was my discretion whether that day and a half was treated as sick leave or unpaid, or annual leave. I opted for half a day unpaid, and a day of annual leave. The employee is challenging this. As part of her contract she has 10 days of sick leave, of which she has 3 outstanding.
It was my opinion, that her reaction to feedback (the feedback was that she was considered by her colleagues as being negative, and we advised better emotional hygiene, this was the third time she had had this feedback), I.e she was angry, was NOT actually sickness or stress. I doubted that that would actually qualify for a medical certificate.
Am I legally required to pay her sick pay, considering her allowance is greater than the legal requirement?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 11 months ago.

Have you seen any medical certificate? It could be a problem that no response was made to this when she offered, but I believe she may be able get one as many doctors would happily give an employee a certificate saying she was too stressed to work. But you could put her to the test and ask for a certificate. If she refuses then you are justified. If she does get something, you would need need to balance what she can do, as against the possibility she may not pursue this. She would need to bring a personal grievance over the one days pay, which may not be justified having regard to the cost. But then there is cost for you as well. So I suggest ask for the certificate and then decide if you want the risk of a personal grievance.

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