Calling in sick when you’re actually having fun? Yes, you can get fired

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If you take a sick day so you can have a fun day, you’re committing fraud and can lose your job

Calling in sick to your workplace when you’re actually attending an event can get you fired. You’re essentially lying to the business and going against clear-cut company policy. A sick day is defined as time off work to recover from mental or physical illness, a health condition or injury. Employees are entitled to one to two days of paid sick leave without a medical certificate. It is not, says Nicol Myburgh, Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit, for when you would rather go to an event, a party or a sporting activity than to work.

“South African labour laws are very protective of employees and often this results in people pushing the envelope further than they should,” he explains. “Sick leave abuse, however, is something that will result in an employee being disciplined, if not fired, and will fundamentally break the trust between the employee and the employer. After all, the person has lied to their manager and colleagues and it’s hard to rebuild relationships from there.”

Myburgh points out that because the law, and most company policies, expect a person to only bring in a sick note after one to two days to prove they were ill, many think they can get away with claiming illness.

“There have even been cases where an employee has pretended to be sick to go to a sporting event, got caught, lost his job, and then sued the company,” says Myburgh. “There are holes and convolutions that really do inhibit how a company can function when an employee behaves badly and it can lead to people taking chances because they know they’re protected. However, in this particular instance – conning a company with fake sick leave – the company had every right to institute disciplinary proceedings.”

While it is easy for people to think that it’s fine for them to take a chance or to push the boundaries of the law, there are repercussions. If you’re thinking of faking illness, be careful, because if you’re caught it will affect your relationship with your employer, your career growth within the company, and possibly result in you losing your job.

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