Can You Use Sick Leave for Cosmetic Surgery?

Using sick leave for cosmetic surgery typically depends on your employment situation, the policies of your employer, and the nature of the surgery. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Employer’s Policies: Check your employment contract and your company’s specific policies regarding sick leave. Some employers may allow the use of sick leave for elective surgeries, while others may not.
  • Medical Necessity: The use of sick leave for cosmetic surgery is more likely to be approved if the procedure is medically necessary. For example, breast reduction surgery might be considered medically necessary if a person experiences severe physical symptoms due to the size of their breasts.
  • Doctor’s Recommendation: Your doctor’s recommendation plays a crucial role. If a licensed medical professional advises that the surgery is necessary for your health, it can support your case for using sick leave.
  • Privacy Concerns: Keep in mind that sharing details about the specific nature of your surgery with your employer might not be required and could violate your privacy. You may be able to use sick leave without specifying the reason for your absence.
  • Paid Time Off (PTO): If your company provides a combined pool of paid time off that includes both sick leave and vacation days, you might have more flexibility in using that time for various purposes, including cosmetic surgery recovery.
  • Unpaid Leave: In cases where sick leave is not an option, you may consider taking unpaid leave to cover the duration of your surgery and recovery. However, this would have financial implications, so plan accordingly.

It’s essential to have an open and honest conversation with your employer’s human resources department to discuss your situation and understand your options. Employers’ policies can vary significantly, so clarifying the details in your specific workplace is crucial. Additionally, consulting with your surgeon about the expected recovery time and any potential complications is essential for planning your time off effectively.

Working out time off

  • Working out when it’s best to be off work – request a guide by calling (03) 8849 1400
  • Note that your MEDICAL LEAVE CERTIFICATE will be from your DOCTOR/SURGEON.
  • A Medical Certificate does NOT typically have the reason you’re off work for privacy reasons. It is typically generic, and usually says “is off work for a certain period of time for a medical condition.”

The clinic name is often NOT on your Medical certificate, but your Surgeon’s name usually is.

  • If your human resource manager wanted to look up who the Surgeon was, or what type of Surgeon they were – they might be able to, or they might recognise the type of Surgeon it is.
  • However, such information or inquiries would likely breach your work policy and other medical privacy laws.

How to find out if you can use Sick Leave for the type of Plastic Surgery you’re having.

  • Ask our NURSES about a Medical Leave Certificate and what it looks like.
  • You may already have requested one for your consultations or pre-surgery check-ups.
  • Read your Sick Leave Policy and make an assessment on coverage.
  • Then check or verify with your Human Resources Department to find out what your sick leave policy will cover (or not).

Should you tell your work colleagues you’re having cosmetic surgery or a plastic surgery procedure?

Whether or not to inform your work colleagues about your cosmetic or plastic surgery procedure is a personal decision.

Remember that you are not obligated to share your decision with anyone at work unless it directly affects your work responsibilities. Your privacy and comfort should be a priority, and you should make the choice that feels right for you.

For more information about Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery options and research in Australia.

Can You Use Sick Leave for Cosmetic Surgery? - 1

Download our free guides or phone (03) 8849 1400 today – and ask for a no-obligation consultation.

Telling people you’re having Cosmetic Surgery

Deciding whether to tell people that you’re undergoing plastic surgery is a personal choice. It depends on your relationship with them, the nature of the surgery, and your comfort level with sharing this information. Here are some pros and cons to consider when making your decision:


  • Emotional Support: Sharing your plans can provide emotional support and a sense of companionship during the process.
  • Advice and Guidance: People who have had similar procedures can offer valuable insights, advice, and guidance.
  • Transparency: Openness can strengthen trust and honesty.


  • Judgment: People tend to have varying opinions on plastic surgery.
  • Privacy: Some people prefer to keep personal matters, especially those related to appearance, private.
  • Unsolicited Advice: Well-intentioned individuals might offer unsolicited advice or express concerns that could add to your stress.
  • Expectations: Expectations and reactions can create additional pressure.
  • Potential Gossip: There’s always a risk that the information could be shared further, leading to gossip or unwanted attention.

Ultimately, whether you share your plans with friends should be guided by your comfort level and your assessment of their supportiveness.

Applying for Leave at Work to Have Cosmetic Surgery

Applying for leave at work to have cosmetic surgery can be a significant decision, and it’s essential to approach it professionally and responsibly. Here are some key steps to consider when requesting time off for your cosmetic procedure:

Check Your Employment Policies:

Before you apply for leave, familiarise yourself with your company’s policies regarding medical leave, paid time off (PTO), and personal leave. This will help you understand the options available to you and the requirements for requesting leave.

Plan Ahead

Plan your surgery date well in advance. This allows you to choose a time that minimises disruption to your work responsibilities and gives your employer sufficient notice.

Discuss with Your Supervisor

It’s a good practice to discuss your situation with your immediate supervisor or manager. They should be informed about your plans and can provide guidance on how to manage your workload during your absence.

Review Medical Documentation

Gather all relevant medical documentation from your surgeon. This typically includes a letter explaining the necessity of the procedure, expected recovery time, and any limitations you may have during your recovery. Your doctor’s note should clearly outline why the surgery is needed.

Know Your Rights

Understand your rights as an employee. In many countries, employees are entitled to medical leave for necessary surgeries or medical procedures. Be sure to check your local labor laws for specific information.

Request Leave in Writing

Submit your leave request in writing. This formalises your request and provides a record of your communication with your employer. Include all relevant details, such as the surgery date, expected recovery period, and any accommodation you may need upon your return.

Prepare for Your Absence

Before you leave for surgery, ensure that your work responsibilities are organised and that a colleague or team member can cover for you during your absence. This includes setting up an out-of-office message, sharing important contacts, and documenting your current projects.

Stay Communicative

Maintain open communication with your employer and colleagues during your recovery. Update them on your progress and when you expect to return to work. This helps manage expectations and ensure a smooth transition back to your duties.

Return to Work Prepared

When you’re ready to return to work, ensure that you’re physically and mentally prepared. Inform your employer of any necessary accommodations, such as reduced hours or temporary modifications to your work tasks.

Maintain Professionalism

Throughout the process, maintain professionalism and discretion regarding your cosmetic surgery. Your colleagues may be supportive, but it’s up to you whether or not you share your personal medical details.

Remember that applying for leave for cosmetic surgery is a common occurrence, and most employers understand the importance of these procedures. By approaching the situation responsibly and following your workplace’s policies, you can maintain professionalism when applying for leave for your cosmetic surgery.