Employment: various

How should staff illness and incapacity be dealt with?

Where an employee is incapable of carrying out the requirements of their employment then action may need to be taken. For all matters relating to incapacity contact NZSTA.

General comments about cases of incapacity

  • An employer may dismiss an employee if the employee has an illness or injury that renders him/her incapable of working. The main factors to be considered are whether the incapacity is ongoing for an unreasonable length of time and recovery prognosis.
  • An unreasonable length of time depends on the circumstances, in particular the type and importance of the work involved, whether the employee can be temporarily replaced, whether it would be reasonable to expend time and resources on training a temporary replacement and/or the employee’s recovery prospects.
  • A school is not required to hold a job open indefinitely for a sick employee. However, in fairness to the employee, the employer must give proper consideration to a number of factors before a dismissal on the grounds of sickness is justifiable.
  • The employee is required to disclose information surrounding any incapacity to work to the employer, and the employer is required to identify and present any information it is taking into account when considering the prospect of dismissing an employee.

Updated: October 2011

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