Frequently Asked Employer Questions – Vol.1


At MMO HR Solutions we’re frequently asked the same questions.  Here are a selection of questions we’ve answered, from employers, via our Facebook page on our ‘Want to Know Wednesday’ posts.

Q.  Can I demand a medical certificate before paying sick leave?

A.  As an employer, you can require your employees to provide ‘reasonable evidence’ of illness or injury in order to utilise sick leave.  A medical certificate is the most common form of evidence provided.  Specific awards and agreements may specify the actual form that the ‘evidence’ must take, i.e. medical certificate, so check those that apply to your business.  Such requirements should be clearly communicated to employees prior to leave being taken (i.e. in an employee handbook when they commence employment), so that they know to obtain a certificate when necessary.  There’s no point telling your employee they need a certificate once they’ve returned to work as most doctors will not backdate one.

Many employers request medical certificates for sick leave of 2 days or more, rather than for single days.  Exceptions are often made for Mondays, Fridays and working days either side of a public holiday.  


Q.  One of our employees resigned, but now wants to stay.  Are we required to keep them on?

A.   If the resignation wasn’t given as a ‘heat of the moment’ reaction and was accepted by you as the employer you are not required to keep them on.  They cannot withdraw the resignation and remain in their role unless agreed by you.


Q.  We accidently overpaid an employee.  Can we take the payment from their next pay?

A.  Generally the only deductions you can make from an employee’s pay relate to PAYE tax and any agreed deductions (such as union fees, salary sacrifice amounts, additional superannuation contributions, etc.). So the only way you can recoup the overpayment is by written agreement with your employee.  Specific awards or agreements may allow for you to make a deduction without agreement but you would need to verify that this applied to you before making the deduction. 

If the amount is minimal I would suggest advising your employee of the error but letting them know that you will not be seeking to recoup the amount.  If the amount is significant and the employee does not agree to a deduction I suggest you seek legal advice.


Q.  When and how should I respond to unsuccessful job applicants?

A.  There is no hard and fast rule around responding to unsuccessful job applicants .  How/when to respond differs with every organisation.  During a recent discussion on LinkedIn, most HR professionals agreed that applicants who have progressed through to interview stage should receive some form of notification that they have not been successful.  A phone call or letter would be appropriate.  For all others, an email would suffice.

Many applicants will contact you to follow up the progress of their application.  Acknowledging receipt of the application and advising progress (or not), as soon as possible  will help to reduce time spent responding to such queries.  Also, many applicants spend considerable time and effort preparing applications, so to respond shows that you appreciate it.


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Disclaimer:  Blogs posted by MMO HR Solutions are for information purposes only and do not constitute professional advice.  The reading/use of any blog posts does not form a consultant-client relationship and such reading/use should not be used as a substitute for professional advice.