Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Request for Medical Certificate When Calling in Sick

On Monday, 26 December 2016 the Regional Operations Manager for the Stuart depot issued a briefing letter to all Aurizon Operations staff at Stuart advising them of the requirement for everyone who calls in for personal sick leave or carerís leave to provide a medical certificate. Tuesday, 27 December 2016 was identified as the commencement date with no exceptions accepted for this requirement due to Stuart being recognised as having significantly higher than average unplanned leave per person when compared to other depots across the nation.

On 28 December the local RTBU representative issued a Step 1 Dispute Notice arguing that the requirement to provide a doctorís certificate for each absenteeism was outside of the intent of clause 20.15 of the Aurizon Train Crew and Operations Enterprise Agreement 2015. Clause 20.15 does allow the company to request a medical certificate from an employee at any time if they believe the employee is abusing their sick leave benefits by booking off sick when they were actual fit for duty. We believe that the requirement for all employees without exception to provide a medical certificate at all times is targeting each individual rather than managing the individual(s) who are contributing to the high level of absenteeism in the depot. The RTBU is of the opinion that this is discrimination as it appears that Aurizon has concluded that all employees at Stuart depot are partaking in excessively high sick leave which is simply not the case.

This action is unfair, unwarranted and many employees are offended by being categorised as habitual sick leave abusers when they have always done the right thing when it comes to accessing their personal / carerís leave entitlements. Management responded to the Step 1 Dispute Notice by stating that they rejected the RTBU concerns as they believed their approach is consistent with Aurizonís Personal /Carerís Leave Corporate Principle and Aurizonís Enterprise Agreements and is an approach adopted by many other employers across all industries.

Your Union then escalated the Dispute Notice to Step 2 on the 28 December 2016 to the Vice President Operations North Queensland who responded stating he confirmed that Aurizonís position remains that they are acting reasonably and within the terms of the current Enterprise Agreement. The RTBU is currently considering what alternatives to pursue in our endeavour to resolve this dispute which may involve raising the dispute in FairWork Australia as well as with the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland.

Members will be kept informed of any progress made on this dispute as we continue to try to resolve the matter.

Unity is Strength

Les Moffitt
Northern District Organiser