ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, has demanded an ‘immediate and swift investigation’ into the practise of issuing ‘sick certs’ to undeserving employees. They say that both the doctors and employees in question are costing business and the State millions and giving a bad name to their colleagues.
According to ISME Chief Executive, Mark Fielding, “Genuine illness absences occur and are treated with care and consideration by employers. It is also quite obvious, based on anecdotal evidence and investigation results, that unauthorised absences are being openly condoned by the medical profession, too busy to investigate and advise and too fearful of our litigious environment. Due to this, it has now become completely unrealistic for a business to expect a full compliment of staff on any given day”.
Fielding questioned the ease with which employees obtain doctor’s notes and the ‘ATM mentality’ of some medical practitioners who issue certs like snuff at a wake, without any genuine intervention or advice. “We, as employers, cannot question a GP’s note without a great deal of hassle and little hope of reversal and the malingerer knows that. The onus must be placed on the medical profession to be more circumspect in their deliberations and refuse to give a ‘sick cert’ where undeserved”.