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FWC finds formal counselling for absence without medical certificate unfair

The Fair Work Commission has found that the formal counselling issued to a CWU member for absence following a public holiday was unfair and should be removed - after the matter was represented by the CWU National Office. The absence was not supported by a medical certificate. Post applied its policy that applications for sick leave before or after a public holiday must be supported by medical certificate.

The member was paid for the absence after representation by the CWU National Office and SA Branch but Post refused to remove the formal counselling. The CWU National Office notified a dispute in the FWC. The union put the view that having paid the member for the absence, Post had accepted that the member had a satisfactory explanation and that to continue the formal counselling was unfair. The FWC agreed that the formal counselling was inappropriate on fairness and equity grounds.

This was a good outcome for the member concerned. But under the current policy published to all employees, employees are still pressured to come to work when sick as they may be unable for a number of reasons, to get a medical certificate. While the union takes on these cases it can take many months to recover the wages and low paid employees cannot afford to wait. Post needs to reconsider its arbitrarily determined policy.

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