HR Issue 12 – July 2014

The Superannuation guarantee increase to 12 percent has been delayed by one year. The guarantee will increase from the current 9.25 percent to 9.5 percent on 1 July 2014. It will remain at that level for four years before increasing 0.5 percent each year until reaching its peak of 12 percent in July 2022.

The new incremental increase is laid out in the table below:

Financial year Superannuation guarantee

July 2014-June 2015          9.5%

July 2015-June 2016          9.5%

July 2016-June 2017          9.5%

July 2017-June 2018          9.5%

July 2018-June 2019        10.0%

July 2019-June 2020        10.5%

July 2020-June 2021        11.0%

July 2021-June 2022        11.5%

July 2022-June 2023        12.0%


Sick certificates vs fit certificates

When an employee is absent from work due to illness or not being fit for work, they will provide a sick certificate. The federal government is currently considering replacing these with ‘fit certificates’.

What’s a fit certificate?

Instead of certifying that a worker is completely unfit for a period of time, a fit certificate turns the concept around and instead provides evidence of what an ill or injured worker might still be capable of doing in the workplace. This is similar to the present ‘light duties’ or ‘return to work’  plans under the WH&S legislation.

Why you need to be cautious?

If fit certificates do come into play then businesses will need to be cautious when it comes to employees suffering colds or flu, and possibly other  infectious diseases. For example: an employee suffering from the flu gets a ‘fit certificate’ clearing them to return to work, even though they continue to suffer from some flu symptoms, on the basis that they maintain certain levels of hygiene to prevent the spread of infection. If the employee doesn’t follow these directives then this increases chances of infecting others, resulting in other employees contracting the flu.

What can be done?

If this does eventuate, then employers will need to ensure they provide the necessary facilities i.e. wash areas, disinfectant and tissues etc. It will also be important to monitor your employees to ensure that any employees who appear too ill or you are concerned they may spread the infection, are removed from the workplace before this can eventuate. As they say: ‘prevention is better than cure’.
Source: Health & Safety Bulletin, Joanna Weekes, 22 May 2014

Questions and Answers

Q: Is an employee required to submit a doctor’s certificate upon request the day after the employee takes sick leave?

A: Legislation is very broad when referring to evidence of sick leave. You can require employees to provide evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person entitled to the sick leave (medical certificate or statutory declaration). However, the timeframe is ‘as soon as possible’, not a specific time.

Therefore, it is important that you have a written policy that specifies what your employees need to provide and the time in which it needs to be provided. In addition to these parameters, it is also an idea to outline:

  • who needs to be informed of absences
  • when and how they need to notify you of an absence
  • consequences of any failure to comply with the requirements.

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