It is not easy when one of your employees has a long-term illness. You have to balance your concern for their health with the needs of your business. You cannot fire them because they have been sick a long time and you must not treat them less favourably because of their illness.
One safeguard is to have an absence policy. Usually you would treat someone’s absence for personal leave as a sign they cannot work rather than a disciplinary matter. Always treat them in a fair and reasonable way and avoid discrimination at all times.
When an employee runs out of paid sick leave and is still unfit for work, they can take unpaid leave. For at least 3 months of unpaid leave, or longer if they have lodged a workers compensation claim, they are protected from dismissal. Even after 3 months of unpaid leave, ending the employee’s employment may still not be lawful.
Always seek expert advice first; or you risk facing an unfair dismissal or general protections claim.
Employsure can advise you on managing long-term illness. For peace of mind, please call our 24 hour Advice Line now on 1300 651 415.