A Melbourne-based business is offering employees medical certificates for a day off work through an online GP consultation for just $29, but concerns have been raised the online service will make it easier for employees to pull a sickie.
Medicalcertificate.me offers clients a short GP consultation after they make an appointment online and fill out a form about their past and present health. A GP then contacts them via Skype for the consultation.
Within minutes of the Skype call ending, a valid medical certificate, carer’s certificate, repeat referral or any other document requested by the patient is emailed to them. The appointments cost $29 including GST.
The business offers to diagnose a range of ailments from cold and flu, and food poisoning, to pink eye, herpes and lice.
Australian Human Resources Institute chairman Peter Wilson told the Herald Sun he is worried the service will contribute to a “cultural” problem Australians have with taking more sick days a year compared with other western countries.
But HR Anywhere managing director Martin Nally told SmartCompany while some people are likely to take advantage of the service, it has some merit for employers.
“Is any system going to be abused? Absolutely. But in my view, there’s some checks and balances in place, such as they Skype process,” says Nally.
Nally says the service could benefit employers by making the process of obtaining a medical certificate quicker and getting the employee back to work sooner.
Employers already have to deal with liberally issued and backdated certificates, according to Nally, and bringing the process online would not necessarily exacerbate the issue.
“It’s actually more real time, it bring us into the 21st century,” he says.
Nally says employers should work on creating a “culture of trust” where medical certificates are not required in general circumstances.
“To say, ‘we don’t need you worrying about a medical certificate’. Culturally, that’s fantastic.”
SmartCompany contacted medicalcertificate.me but did not receive a response prior to publication.