Can You Be Fired for Being Sick?

We regularly get asked about the laws surrounding sickness and employment termination. Fortunately, Australia’s laws are quite clear on this issue, which is something of a relief. As always, you should always seek legal advice from employment lawyers if you feel you’ve been dismissed unfairly. You can find a list of the best lawyers at

In the rest of this article we’ve covered everything you need to know about illness and your rights as an employee. As always, this is meant as advice only and doesn’t constitute professional legal aid.

Can I Be Fired for Being Sick too Often in Australia?

First, let’s address the main question here. In short, the Fair Work Act 2009 says that an employee can’t be fired if they’re temporarily off sick. However, there are a few things to keep in mind here, and employers aren’t as exposed as it might seem at first.

In short, an employee who is absent on sick leave must provide a medical certificate or statutory declaration covering the claimed illness or injury. In most cases, this has to be provided within 24 hours, or, in special circumstances, within a reasonable time frame.

If an employee doesn’t provide these documents, then they can theoretically be dismissed without breaking the law. However, it’s usually a good idea to seek the advice of an employment lawyer to ensure you’re within your rights before terminating a contract.