• How to Get an Absence from Work Certificate

    How to Get an Absence from Work Certificate

    It’s a regular Monday, like any other days, and you wake up warm to touch, aching all over, the sniffles, a bad cough and a throbbing headache. You can’t go to work like this! Who knows, you may even start an endemic throughout your office! Or maybe, you can’t leave home because your son caught chickenpox! Oh no! Your little man will definitely need his mum or dad by his side (considering you’ve already gotten your share of the pox and have been properly vaccinated!). As much as your bosses will miss you during your absence, they also understand that their workers are human and have bad days.

    What is there to do when you don’t show up for work due to illness?

    Sick woman

    You will need an official statement stating your absence was legitimately due to sickness to make your sick/ carer leave valid. This can be issued by either a pharmacist, for minor ailments, or a physician, for major ailments. Lucky for you, Priceline Pharmacy West Brunswick has just the people you need to see to be able to get you a certificate for absence from work due to minor ailments. Read on to see how!


    Who may benefit from a Medical Certificate for Absence from Work

    If you are a “federal system” employee with an illness/ injury or with a household member in need of immediate care, then you might find this service useful.

    Federal System Employees have the following characteristics:

    1. Works at a proprietary company (indicated by Pty Ltd in the company name)
    2. Paid by a proprietary company
    3. Employed in the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory or Victoria (includes sole traders, partnerships, trusts, etc.)
    4. Employed in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania after 1 January 2011

    To be considered as a “Household member in need of care,” they must be either of the following: A spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling of the employee. Some pharmacists may also use their own judgment should the person in need not be a blood relative but living under the same roof as the employee.

    In these guidelines, the terms ‘employer’ and ‘employee’ are used from time to time where the relevant context can be expressed more appropriately. Pharmacists are reminded that in the context of this document, a person requesting a certificate for absence from work is the ‘employee’.

    Guidelines and Requirements to Avail of a Certificate for Sick/Carer Leave

    certificare for absence from work

    According to the Fair Work Act of 2009, a pharmacist can issue certificates only for two valid reasons:

    1. A minor illness/ injury (based on the pharmacist’s level of expertise) for a Personal Leave.

    2. A need to care for an ill family/ household member for a Carer’s Leave.

    A thorough interview will be conducted prior to the issuance of the certificate for absence from work and will only be given when, by the pharmacist’s professional opinion, it is clear that you are unfit for work or taking care of someone ill at home. It is also good to note the following when in doubt of acquiring a certificate for absence from work:

    1. If the illness is more complicated, consult a physician.
    2. Pharmacists can only issue a certificate. They cannot diagnose nor treat the reported illness.
    3. If you are unsure whether the certificate is enough or satisfactory, consult your employer. Sometimes they require a medical practitioner who issued a medical certificate.
    4. The date noted will be the date of consult.
    5. All information expressed during consult will not be relayed to a third party nor used for any other purpose outside the issuance of the certificate without consent.
    6. Any false information reported by either your or your pharmacist regarding your health or the health of whomever you are caring for will be considered as fraud.
    7. If a pharmacist says he/she cannot issue you with a certificate for absence from work, this is not a decision that has been made lightly.
    8. Pharmacists are not able to provide certification for pregnancy-related requests or for compassionate leave.


    If a pharmacist is unable to issue you with a certificate for absence from work and you believe you are unfit for your work, you should seek an opinion from your doctor.

    General Steps in Acquiring a Medical Certificate

    Below are the steps you must undertake to be able to acquire a medical certificate to give to your employer:

    1. Upon arriving at work, ask your employer for the requirements needed to validate your absence.
    2. Locate a pharmacy that issues medical certificates. You can try Priceline Pharmacy or United Chemists.
    3. Request for a certificate at the pharmacy.
    4. Provide all the information asked of you at the consultation.
    5. After a record and assessment has been completed, you will then either receive your certificate or be referred to a doctor should your condition be beyond the scope of the pharmacist’s expertise.
    6. Pay for the fee required.
    7. Proceed to submitting your certificate to your employer.


    What should be written on the certificate?

    Medical certificates, whether issued by a physician or a pharmacist, are considered as legal documents. Any form of falsification or irresponsible usage will put the issuer liable. The following are the Must’s and Must Not’s of the contents of the certificate:

    1. Be legible


    2. Written with a letterhead

    3. Be in plain English (no jargon nor abbreviations)

    4. Based on facts known by the pharmacist (reported consultation and observation)

    5. Contain the date of the certificate

    6. Contain the date the consultation took place

    7. Contain the days the person is unfit to work

    1. Be backdated


    2. Be dated for a day other than the date the person presented to the pharmacist and consultation was conducted


    This is an example of the medical certificate or you could receive.

    Priceline Medical Certificate Sample


    What questions should you expect at the consult?

    Queries Medical Certificate

    Aside from taking note of your general information, for purposes of record keeping, you will need to provide a thorough history of the illness/ injury you are burdened by. Just like a doctor’s consultation, the pharmacist will use this information to validate your fitness for work and whether you need further treatment still. Below are some questions to think about before beginning the consult:

    • Describe your or your family member’s illness/ injury.
    • When did the symptoms first arise?
    • Have you consulted with a doctor in relation to the illness/ injury beforehand?
    • Is there a prior certification or prescription to be filled? If so, what are the details and date of the documentation?
    • What medication is being provided to you or your family member?
    • How long have you been off work?
    • How long do you think you need to be off work?

    Your Responsibilities

    Here are some things to take note of during and after the consultation:

    1. Report a truthful, complete and accurate description of your reason for requesting a certificate.
    2. Answer all questions regarding your medical history truthfully.
    3. If any, present to the pharmacist any form of documentation relating to your request for a certificate (e.g. prescriptions, previous certificates etc.).
    4. Give the certificate to your employer as soon as possible. This is also to ensure that all the information required is present.


    The Pharmacist’s Responsibilities

    These are the things the pharmacist issuing you a certificate for absence from work should know. Double check these pointers to ensure you’re getting quality certification:

    1. Provide a private and confidential environment for consultation.
    2. Ask appropriate and thorough questions to accurately assess whether you are unfit for your, or your family/ household member requires care.
    3. Provide you a written certificate stating the days you will require leave from work. (Max. 2 days)
    4. Will only issue certificates in relation to the condition/s if the pharmacist is qualified to assess.

    For more information, visit us at
    Priceline Pharmacy West Brunswick
    or give us a call at 03 9380 9535 or
    visit Pharmaceutical Society of Australia on
    the issuance of certificates for absence from work.

    Other suggested readings:

    Medical Certificate Issuance in West Brunswick

    Flu Vaccinations

    Priceline Services

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