Statutory Declarations are now a common industrial method of providing evidence in relation to accessing personal leave.
Statutory Declarations (as defined in the Oaths Act 2001) in lieu of a medical certificate was introduced for Ambulance Award employees in 2014; this clause has been transferred into the AWARD as part of the 2015 consolidation of agreements process.
Please refer to the pertinent clause in the Tasmanian Ambulance AWARD, Part VIII 3 (Personal Leave). Clause (i) (iii) states:
(iii) If it is not reasonably practicable for the employee to give the employer a medical certificate as prescribed in paragraphs (1) and (2) or other acceptable documentation as prescribed in paragraph (3) and (4), a statutory declaration made by the employee, stating the circumstances and the reasons for which leave is required is to be provided.
There is no requirement to say why you didn’t obtain a medical certificate on the statutory declaration, you must however, “state the circumstances and the reasons” as to why you took leave.
The case law has determined that when employees provide a Stat Dec they need to include in general terms the reason or the nature of why they were unfit for duty. A medical practitioner may state ‘medical condition’ on a certificate, but case law has determined that individuals must provide more detail on a Stat Dec.
e.g. “unfit for work due to having gastro like symptoms”, “unfit for work, had a severe cold, and rested at home”.
There is an agreed procedure for “Verification of Illness” at clause (k) within the Award. AT cannot simply reject a statutory declaration. If your employer ignores the procedure you should contact HACSU to ensure your rights are protected.
Members are reminded that, as per the Award, 38 hours per ‘personal leave year’ are available without supporting evidence. You are able to access 2 consecutive personal leave days without providing evidence as long as you do not exceed your 38 hours per ‘personal leave year’.