Although the coronavirus is not an extremely dangerous virus, paying sickness benefits to employees during their initial days of sick leave has become more important than ever before, Estonian Trade Union Confederation (EAKL) chairman Peep Peterson said on Thursday.
"Although international practice shows that the coronavirus is not an extremely dangerous virus, its impacts must be kept under control," Peterson said in a press release. "It must be ensured that employees suspected of having contracted the virus can remain at home until they get well. Thus, paying employees sickness benefits for their first days of illness is more important than ever before."
While tax incentives concerning this benefit have been in effect for several years already, it has actually been implemented by fewer than half of businesses, he leader noted.
"Paying the benefit under today's conditions is, firstly, humane, while on the other hand also essential for preventing a major wave of contagion — with this, we protect people and businesses alike," the union leader said.
"At the same time, I am calling on employees to use this benefit in a responsible manner and inform paramedics of well-grounded suspicions of having contracted the disease by calling 112," he stressed.
Commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus, coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by the virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei Province, in late 2019, and cases have since been confirmed on all permanently inhabited continents, with more than 2,800 deaths attributed to the disease to date worldwide.
Editor: Aili Vahtla