How to Allocate Sick Leave When Your Employee’s Spent Half the Day at Work

by | Oct 24, 2023 | Management

How do you go about apportioning this sick leave in your member of staff attendance record if he/she leaves by 2pm because he/she is really not feeling well?

Do you mark it as a half day because he/she left at 2pm? Or does the unwritten rule that ‘if your employee was at work until after 10am she’s been there all day’ stand?

Is it really a rule that ‘if an employee was not feeling well and needed to go home or to the doctor – as long as he/she left after 10h00 – he/she didn’t need to complete a Leave Application Form?

Both illness and injury can be distracting if you experience pain or discomfort that hinders your productivity. Some injuries or existing conditions can create long-term or chronic symptoms that affect your daily life. If your employee’s symptoms prevent them from completing responsibilities, they may benefit from leaving work early to rest and recover.

What does the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) say about this?  

Sick leave – when do you NOT have to pay?

An employee is entitled to 30 days’ paid sick leave if he works five days a week, and 36 days’ paid sick leave if he works six days a week.

You don’t have to pay an employee for sick leave if he has been absent on more than two occasions during an eight-week period, unless he gives you a valid medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner. 

The BCEA doesn’t not make provision for this 10am sick leave situation, so what should you do in these cases?  

The first thing is to inspect if your business has an unwritten rule like this that you’ve been using for years. If you do, you can’t change it without consultation. This is because common practice has become the law in this matter. To change it, it needs to be referred to the CCMA as it would be seen as a unilateral change of working conditions. 

If, on the other hand, you don’t use this as common practice, you need to know that while there’s no condition in the law for this, if your employee has worked for the majority of the day, you should deduct no more than a quarter- or half-day of sick leave for the time she’s taken off.