02/26/2014 06:34 EST | Updated 04/28/2014 05:59 EDT

Sick notes not necessary for short-term illness: MDs

Newfoundland and Labrador workers who have been off sick with a cold for a few days may find themselves stuck in a fight between doctors and employers.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association says employers are increasingly asking workers to get medical notes when they're sick for periods under five days. 

In a letter to members, NLMA president Yordan Karaivanov said doctors should know they are under no obligation to provide a note - especially when a patient asks for one after their condition has improved, and they need to meet an employer's demand. 

"We are advising physicians that they not write short-term medical certificates when they have not assessed the patient during the illness," Karaivanov said in the letter. 

"In many cases, patients are presenting in physicians’ offices after they have returned to work fully recovered, and the medical certificate is completed based on information provided by the patient and not an assessment by the physician." 

The NLMA said such requests put demands on the health-care system that could be used dealing with people who are ill. 

As well, the association wants employers to ask for sick notes only after five days of illness. 

The NLMA is providing its members with a template form that they can use for issuing sick notes. The form is voluntary.