Medical certificate

Means of Proof

When an employee is prevented from working due to illness or accident, they must prove their inability to work. This proof is usually provided by a medical certificate which will specify the sickness or accidental origin of the incapacity, its rate and duration. Under these conditions, the medical certificate is presumed to be true.


Illness occurring just after a dismissal, repeated absences on Mondays or Fridays... There are many situations where the employer may have doubts about the validity of the medical certificate. However, in order to question it, he must have serious and well-founded doubts.

Employee's behaviour

The employer can doubt the veracity of a medical certificate when the employee behaves in a way that is incompatible with his state of health. For example, an employee with a knee injury who plays tennis or an employee with a flu who posts pictures of himself in a nightclub or on the ski slopes on the Internet.

Retroactive certificate

An employee is fired and rushes to his doctor to certify a retroactive incapacity to work. Unfortunately, this situation occurs frequently. If the employee has not shown any signs of illness before, the employer can seriously question such a medical certificate.

When the medical certificate can objectively and retroactively attest to the illness, such as in the case of pregnancy or cancer, the situation is different. The employee may, in certain cases, be protected against dismissal at inappropriate times, even if he or she discovers the illness months after the dismissal. However, the employer's obligation to pay wages may be limited in very specific cases.

Consultant doctor

If the employer has serious doubts about the medical certificate, he cannot simply cut off the employee. It must go through its consulting physician. The employer must follow a very specific procedure that is subject to strict conditions. The consulting physician must respect medical confidentiality and cannot reveal everything to the employer.

Medical secrecy

Whether it is the employee's treating physician or the company's consulting physician, medical secrecy must be respected. The medical certificate must not indicate the cause of the employee's illness or accident. It may only state whether the incapacity is due to an illness or an accident, its rate and its duration.

False certificate

If the employee has produced a false medical certificate with the intention of misleading the employer, he or she is at risk. In the event of a proven false certificate, the employer may take certain measures against the employee depending on the circumstances of the case.

Sick child

When an employee's child is sick, it is the employee's legal duty to take care of it. The employee will be entitled to a certain period of paid leave upon presentation of a medical certificate.


If an employee becomes ill or suffers an accident while on vacation, he/she will be entitled to recover his/her vacation time if the damage to his/her health is sufficiently serious. The employee must prove this by means of a medical certificate. The medical certificate must be written in a language that the employer can understand.

Pregnancy and maternity

Pregnancy can lead to increased fatigue, nausea, or back pain. During this particular period, the employee can be absent from work, upon notice. She will only be entitled to her salary if she presents a duly established medical certificate. 

Top Articles