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Absence due to illness


Most of the companies I've worked for in Belgium have required a medical certificate even for one day of absence due to illness (in fact I understand this is the law). As I have so far been lucky enough not to be ill very often i was wondering how this works in practice, especially with minor conditions that wouldn't normally require treatment. Are you meant to spend the day trying to book a doctor's appointment to certify you have a bad cold/food poisoning/etc., or go a day or two later when you may well be recovered anyway? What if you're not feeling well enough to leave the house but don't need urgent medical attention - would a doctor be willing to do a home visit just to provide a certificate?

I know Belgium has an absenteeism problem, but doesn't all this just encourage people to go to work when they're unwell and potentially infect others?


The only legal obligation you have is to inform your employer that you are ill and can't come to work.

When you need to produce a sick note, or how long you have is dependent on your employment contract, any specific workplace regulations or union agreements that apply in your workplace, or if your employer requests one.

It would be typically be something like you need a sick note after two consecutive or four non-consectutive days in any 30 day period.

Something else to remember is that your employer has a right to ask you to submit to a medical if you are off work without good reason.

Here is a relatively comprehensive description (in French)

Mar 6, 2018 16:03

Thanks, clearly I was wrong about the law, but my company (and at least one previous one) does indeed request a certificate for even one day of absence. I'm just wondering how that works in practice!

Mar 6, 2018 16:15

What do you spending all day trying to book a doctors appointment? Which doctors do you frequent most will have an open door and unlike the UK you can always get seen by a gp. If your gp doesn’t you simply find one who does. Some have online booking so you don’t even need to,pick up the phone

Mar 6, 2018 22:30

By open door I mean a time when one can simply turn up and wait in line to be seen

Mar 6, 2018 22:31

Also if youre too unwell to leave the house you should wait until youre feeling a but better and then see a doctor and ask a back dated certifocate they are usually happy to help you comply with the law. Very few illnesses are bad for only one day and if D&V one should allow 24 hours after last urgent visit to loo before going back in to work anyway and possobly longer if dealing with food for a living or health care

Mar 7, 2018 09:28

Best to be safe than sorry!
Suggest you always get a medical note from a doctor and ask them to back date it from the date you were sick
Also keep a copy of your doctors sick note for your records and email a copy of the medical sick note to the Human Resources Officer.

Mar 7, 2018 14:58