Can an employee on off sick enter the employer's premises to access a document which can only be accessed from work (like a trusted document e.g.: Occupational health report) or to get some documents from the personal locker and return quickly?

  • What? Well, they can if the sickness itself doesn't make moving or walking impossible. They may not be allowed to for legal or insurance reasons. Also, this would be bad attitude towards the other workers if the sickness is contagious. – Tobi Nary Jan 31 '19 at 12:45
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    What country are we talking about? Adding country tag would be helpful. I know answer for Poland, but I believe it would be pretty useless everywhere else. – Mołot Jan 31 '19 at 13:01
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    Is this something that has already happened, or are you worried that it will happen? I can't imagine any employer doing this. – David K Jan 31 '19 at 13:15
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    @DavidK I can. In Poland, if sick employee appears in work, Employer must either fill a report of fraudulent sick leave or risk problems with state labor inspection / labor court for suspected forcing sick employees to work. Who would want that? Not letting employee in and sending and receiving documents via registered mail is simplest, least problematic solution. – Mołot Jan 31 '19 at 13:26
  • Are you or a colleague ill with something contagious? Is there someone you work with who might be especially vulnerable to certain bugs going around? – user34587 Jan 31 '19 at 13:27

If you are on sick leave and you go to the office, the company may have problems with the law enforcement authorities. It can be interpreted that they forced you to come to work while you were sick.

Also, it depends on why you are on sick leave. Is your sickness contagious? If yes, it is a risk for the other employees. Can your health further deteriorate because of the effort to go to office? The company surely does not want this.

So yes, there are several reasons why an employee should not visit the office while on sick leave.

Discuss the situation with your superior (probably on the phone) and find a solution which is mutually satisfactory.


Get agreement from your manager before you do this.

It's possible that your company will be able to send you the required documentation or have it delivered to your doctor/whoever.

Whether you could/should of course depends on the reason for your sickness, but do ask your manager first.


As someone who has gone to the workplace while sick, I can tell you that the company asked me to leave, because I was violating the company's insurance policy. I believe, that if something were to happen while I was there, then the company could have had difficulties with the insurance company, even though I was just collecting something from my desk. If in doubt, check with your legal department.

  • Good answer, but could you please indicate your location? – Mawg says reinstate Monica Feb 1 '19 at 9:49
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    Of course. I was in Germany at the time. – user85789 Feb 1 '19 at 10:02

If you are on leave, they may, for reasons of liability, want to keep you off the premises, depending on how obnoxious the agencies are in enforcing labor laws to the letter.

The way around this is to send a representative on your behalf. There is no justification for them barring an authorized representative.

A call should precede the visit and should come something like this

Hi, this is Maria Paul. I need something from my locker, I'd like to send my brother in to retrieve it for me. Is later today good?

Obviously, they may want to schedule a time, but they have no right to bar you from getting your things.


seems a little extreme to ban someone from the premises while they are sick. personally i would have no problem if a sick worker came into work for a legitimate reason (like the examples you listed) but it was made clear that they were not there to work and they were off for a reason. its possible that coming in for any reason while sick is against your companies CoC but i cant really see a decent reason why (unless they were contagous but that really shouldn't be an issue if the person is there for 5 minutes to get something from a locker or desk)

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    In most countries this is a legal requirement. If a doctor declares you unfit for work, you are not allowed to work unless a doctor gives you a clean bill of health. This may include not being allowed in the office. It's all about insurance and process, not being contagious – Hilmar Jan 31 '19 at 13:29

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