Institute of Certified Bookkeepers
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March 2018 Question of the Month – Personal leave for cosmetic surgery

  • 127 posts
  • # 116537

An employee has come back to work after a week off following cosmetic surgery (Eye Brow Lift), which has resulted in two black eyes. She has provided a medical certificate, but cosmetic surgery is not normally covered by personal leave. Does the employer have to pay the personal leave?

  • Member in Practice
  • Practice Certificate
  • 7 posts
  • # 116553

admin@ICB said:

“An employee has come back to work after a week off following cosmetic surgery (Eye Brow Lift), which has resulted in two black eyes. She has provided a medical certificate, but cosmetic surgery is not normally covered by personal leave. Does the employer have to pay the personal leave?”

 In my view it's not our place to comment on what consititutes personal leave if they have a medical ceritificate. If they have available personal leave and have a medical certificate then that should be adequate for them to claim.

  • Member in Practice
  • Practice Certificate
  • 8 posts
  • # 116564

My understanding is that elective surgery is covered by personal leave if an employee is unable to work because of injury or illness related to the elective surgery.  I guess it depends on the extent of the black eyes.  If it is just bruising that does not inhibit her ability to work, but rather is just unsightly, then I don't consider the employer would have to provide personal leave.  The employee could take the time out of annual leave.  Having said that if an employee has a good relationship with the employer then he may well agree to personal leave covering the time off.

  • Affiliate
  • 1 post
  • # 116567

A Medical Certificate is a legal document.  If the employer wants to object to the claim they are rejecting a legal document / ruling.  If they want to pursue the matter, I believe it will have to be through court with the person who issued the Medical Certificate.  Any retribution for the wrongful pay would likely have to be claimed from the party who issued the medical certificate.

  • 127 posts
  • # 116641

Response from our HR Expert says:

“If the medical certificate states that the employee was unfit to attend work, the company needs to make a decision.

Option 1: take the medical certificate at face value and agree to the paid personal leave.

Option 2: hold the view that the surgery was elective; that they aren't technically injured (unless the surgeon botched the surgery), and don't have an illness, and aren't entitled to paid personal leave. However if you choose this option, be prepared to defend the position.”

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