42 percent of health institutes issuing ‘fake sick certificates’

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RIYADH — Forty-two percent of health institutes issue sick notes for employees who are not really ill, according to a study by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha).

A source at the commission reported it had received complaints against the health institutes regarding fake sick notes, Makkah daily reported.

“In response to the complaints, the commission monitored social media accounts and other media and noted that faking sick notes has become a national phenomenon, more so in the public sector than the private sector,” said the source.

The source added that the commission surveyed 130 different hospitals and health clinics chosen randomly from across the Kingdom.

The survey revealed that health institutes, especially private ones, do issue fake sick notes to employees.

The source also added that this promotes procrastination and negligence in the workplace.

Moreover, it is costing employers money because they have to cover the expenses of unnecessary health checkups.

The source said: “The commission has proposed penalties for such negligence to the concerned directorates.

“The penalties proposed include sanctioning the health institute issuing the sick note, the doctor issuing it and the employee asking and paying for it.”

The source also urged all citizens to cooperate with the commission by taking their jobs seriously.

The director-general of the government’s e-services provider Yusr, Ali Al-Sama, said his organization is working on an e-service that would better regulate employees’ absence in both the private and public sectors.

The e-service will connect the employer to the health institute directly without the need to consult the employee.

He said: “The service is expected to be integrated into the systems of public and private hospitals and clinics.

“The system is done in cooperation with the Yusr Program and the Saudi Health Council and will include all employees in the Kingdom, Saudis and non-Saudis.”

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Jan. 14, 2015.