Nurses raise concerns over sick leave


AFTER over a century of fighting for workers' rights, it seems if the proposed industrial relations reforms are passed 'the man' will finally have won.

Let's face it, an unemployed person who needs a job isn't in a position of being able to bargain for optimal rights with an experienced businessman.

Currently the Federal Government's WorkChoices Bill is being debated in the Senate.

The proposed reforms require employees to provide a doctor's certificate for the first day of sick leave.

According to nurses, Member for Page, Ian Causley told a gathering at the Lismore Base Hospital the negative impact of possible changes to sick leave arrangements was 'unfortunate'.

However he discounts the nurses claim as 'misleading' and believes that the new requirement will help stem dishonesty and ensure that only genuine people take sick days.

"It's clear that the complaints are baseless remarks based on fraudulent information," he said.

They claim he said it might make things difficult for people such as pregnant women, but was necessary to get rid of the 'great Australian sickie'.

"State awards for nurses will not change and after three years with union help they will be able to bargain a new award," Mr Causley said.

But NSW Nurses Association assistant secretary Judith Kiejda doesn't believe Mr Causley knows what the real cost will be.

"How he can make such a claim is beyond me, when new Federal awards or agreements will be a lot more restrictive in terms of what they cover than State awards currently are," she said.

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