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Sixty for a sick note in Dubai

AED 60 dirhams for a sick note

Charges will now apply to everyone for a doctor's note.

May 1, 2013 3:04 by

As if we, as employees, weren’t already dominated by an omnipresent culture of ‘presenteeism’, every worker in Dubai will – as of May 1 – be forced to pay 60dhs to receive a doctor’s sick note.

In its simplest form, this growing epidemic is often defined as ‘attending work while sick’. And we all have that one work colleague that – regardless of the severity of his or her illness – will insist on putting their health on the line to come to the office. Naturally, the consequences of that irresponsible decision can spread, quite literally, to others.

Why? Occasionally, it’s the enormous workload rearing its ugly head, but more often than not, it is either guilt or fear. There have been several studies and polls on the subject – some of which suggest that employers, since the global crisis, have begun using it as a scare tactic – and we’ve written about a couple here.

According to Dr Layla Al Marzouqi, head of clinical governance at Dubai Health Authority, only government employees were previously charged (AED50) to obtain a sick note. Now, the new charge will affect everybody “regardless of where they are working, or their social class”.

As The National reports, this move is merely a piece in the puzzle; a part of a series of measures introduced to combat an ongoing fraudulent abuse of the system. In a nutshell, its aim is to discourage those feigning illness to skip a working day – in hopes that the charge will force them to think twice.

To further quote the report, this move has been met with ‘mixed reactions’, with one resident in Dubai describing it as ‘a tax on the sick’ and one medical practitioner ‘detesting’ the idea; saying it ‘shows distrust in doctors’.

You may be reading this thinking, if I’m really ill, then 60dhs is a price I wouldn’t mind paying – but does that mean that workers from all social classes can afford this charge? It is a classic case of an entire population being affected by the mistakes of a few.

The health authority says they’re still reviewing the actual charges and that; in the meantime, they’re open to alternative suggestions.

What are yours?

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