Legalities...I'm glad that you have this in your policy now to convince HR you need it...
I'd hate to be the company that didn't have an illness policy for their employees and then only to be sued because their product that went out into the marketplace wound up making people very sick or even causing death. How much of an impact would that have to the business? As food manufacturing companies we are required to produce safe food for our consumers. If that means asking our employees to report any illnesses then so be it. If we don't know about it how can we manage it? The Australian Department of Health has a list of diseases that must be reported.
The Australian Food Standards Code has a section for Health and hygiene responsibilities:
What must a food handler do if she or he is sick?
If a food handler has a food-borne illness
Food handlers must tell their work supervisor if they have any of the following symptoms while they are at work - vomiting, diarrhoea, a fever or a sore throat with a fever. The only exception to this is if the food handler knows that he/she has these symptoms for a different reason. For example, a food handler may be vomiting at work because of pregnancy.
Food handlers must also tell their supervisor if they have been diagnosed as having or carrying a food-borne illness.
As well as reporting the food-borne illness, the food handler must not handle any food where there is a chance they might make the food unsafe or unsuitable because of their illness. Also, if a food handler stays on at work to do other work, he or she must do everything reasonable to make sure that they do not contaminate any food.
Note: Illnesses that can be passed on through food include Hepatitis A and those caused by giardia, salmonella and campylobacter.
If a food handler has skin injuries or sores or is otherwise unwell
Food handlers must tell their supervisor about any infections or conditions like a cold or other problem that may result in discharges from their ears or nose or eyes if there is any chance that they might make food unsafe or unsuitable for people to eat as a result of their condition.
Also, if they continue to handle food with such a condition, food handlers must do whatever is reasonable to make sure that they don’t contaminate any food. For example, an infected sore could be completely covered by a bandage and clothing or by a waterproof covering if on an area of bare skin, and medication can be used to dry up discharges.
If a food handler knows or suspects he or she might have contaminated some food
Food handlers must tell their supervisor if they know or think they may have made any food unsafe or unsuitable to eat. For example, jewellery worn by a food handler may have fallen into food.
There was an issue down under whereby frozen berries were implicated in causing Hepatitis A in a large number of consumers due to the alleged contaminated berries.
Now if that contamination had been caused by an employee who was ill with a communicable disease that is required to be reported by our health service, and this was not communicated to the employer by the employee or the employee knew they were ill and they allowed them to process these berries which then resulted in customers becoming sick, ask your HR team how they wish to manage the upcoming coming legal ramifications?