Certificates for absence from work

Under the Fair Work Act 2009, employees can be required by their employer to provide certificates for absence from work to verify absences from work due to illness or injury (personal leave), or absences due to the illness or injury to a member of the employee’s immediate family or household (carer’s leave).

Other forms of evidence are medical certificates and statutory declarations.

It is deemed within a registered pharmacist’s scope of practice to issue a Certificate for Absence from Work, provided they are acting within their scope of practice.

The Guild strongly recommends that pharmacists limit the provision of certificates for absence from work to:

  • their area of practice and expertise, which is primarily:
    • the supply, compounding or dispensing of medicines
    • the provision of professional pharmacy services, including advice on minor conditions and the effective and safe use of medicines; and
  • circumstances where they can reasonably form a view as to an employee’s fitness for work, or as to the illness or injury of the member of the household or immediate family.

One exception under the Fair Work Act 2009 is in the circumstances of parental leave, where the medical certificate must be issued by a registered medical practitioner. The following materials have been issued to support pharmacists in implementing this service.

This document is intended to assist pharmacists in meeting their legal and professional obligations when issuing absence from work certificates in the context of the Fair Work Act 2009. The document’s intent is to assist pharmacists in the issuing certificates for absence from work that are compliant with relevant laws, and to minimise the potential risk of professional negligence. It provides guidance on record keeping, privacy, referral to medical practitioners and other important aspects of providing this service. It also includes a sample template for a record of consultation, and examples of personal leave and carer’s leave certificates.

This document provides pharmacists with a framework to assist them in issuing certificates for absence from work for minor injuries/conditions that is within their scope of practice.

Where the service is provided, a pharmacy is entitled to charge a fee for consultation and the provision of the certificate for absence from work.  Each pharmacy needs to determine its own fees based on the period of consultation and other business infrastructure costs.

A spreadsheet has been attached to provide you with an example on how to develop a fee structure for the consultation process and the issuing of a Certificate.

For more information, please contact the Guild on (02) 6270 1888.

Page last updated on: 27 May 2021