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Who should you accept a sick note / certificate from?

A medical practitioner that is registered with a professional council that is established by an act of council.

  • a registered medical practitioner / doctor with MBChB degree or
  • a registered Dentist or
  • a registered Psychologist.
  • Medical and Clinic certificates that adhere to the Medical and Dental Professions Board Rules – outlined below.

If at any point you are not sure, contact the Health Professions Council of South Africa or the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa to confirm registration. If the doctor or practice number is not registered, you are entitled to not accept the certificate. Any sick leave in this case would be unpaid.

Who do you not have to accept a sick note / certificate from?

  • Clinic certificates that have not been signed by a registered medical practitioner and that do not adhere to the rules below. All clinics and hospitals have qualified registered medical practitioners in attendance. All persons that are ill must be examined by one of them.
  • Any clinic certificate that has a name / signature that is illegible and/or rubber stamped.
  • Traditional healers.
  • Any other persons not listed above.

The list below outlines what makes a sick note / medical certificate valid and acceptable.

The full document that serves as a guideline to employers is available free of charge from the Ethical and Professional Rules of the Medical and Dental Professions Board of the Health Professions Council of South Africa

Rule 15:

(1)   A practitioner shall only grant a certificate of illness if such certificate contains the following information, namely:

  1. The name, address and qualification of the practitioner
  2. The name of the patient
  3. The employment number of the patient (if applicable)
  4. The date and time of the examination
  5. Whether the certificate is being issued as a result of personal observations by the practitioner during an examination, or as the result of information received from the patient and which is based on acceptable medical grounds
  6. A description of the illness, disorder or malady in layman’s terminology, with the informed consent of the patient:, provided that if the patient is not prepared to give such consent, the medical practitioner or dentist shall merely specify that, in his or her opinion based on an examination of the patient, the patient is unfit to work
  7. Whether the patient is totally indisposed for duty or whether the patient is able to perform less strenuous duties in the work situation
  8. The exact period of recommended sick leave
  9. The date of issuing of the certificate of illness 
  10. A clear indication of the identity of the practitioner who issued the certificate which shall be personally and originally signed by him or her next to his or her initials and surname in printed or block letters.

(2)   If pre-printed stationery is used, a practitioner shall delete words which are irrelevant.

(3)   A practitioner shall issue a brief factual report to a patient where such a patient requires information concerning himself or herself. 


You are entitled to get a second opinion from a different practitioner if required. The cost of the second opinion is that of the employer.

This post is only intended as a general outline and each case should be judged individually using the above as a guide. If you are unsure, rather contact us for support.