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July 23, 2018

Can we make a stressed worker take personal leave?

We have a worker who is showing signs of stress and mood swings, which is affecting her work performance and the performance of her co-workers.

This worker is in a management position, which has us very concerned. What is our duty of care to her and other workers? Can we ask her to take personal leave to have some time away from work and to rest? We don’t want to offend her but want to know how can we respond appropriately to this?

You can only require her to take personal leave if her doctor provides a certificate stating that she is unfit for work. If you have a genuine concern for the wellbeing of the employee or others working with her, you can have a discussion about it and seek to explore ways to address the issue, perhaps via an EAP.

However, any changes to the employee’s employment should be implemented with the employee’s consent and on the basis of proper medical advice.

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