Work sick leave can be filed online as temporary measure from Monday ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Estonian ID Card and card reader.
Estonian ID Card and card reader. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

From Monday, March 16, going on sick leave can be done as a temporary measure online in Estonia, following the government's declaration of an emergency situation due to the coronavirus pandemic late last week.

An increased workload for family doctors and the health sector as a whole means that getting in touch with a doctor may be more difficult; those in need of filing an official sick note (Haigusleht) with employers can do so via the Patient Portal, the Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa), family doctors association (perearstide selts) and health and well-being center (Tervise ja Heaolu Infosüsteemide Keskus) say.

Entries into the patients' portal will be forwarded to the Health Insurance Fund and the individual's employer and family doctor; the record is also automatically opened and the individual will be contacted by the family doctors' center within a week to clarify their state of health and any presenting symptoms.

Karmen Joller, board member at the family doctors' association, said that a surge in requests to open official sick leave is anticipated.

"To let us focus on those who need the most help, we ask patients to apply for sick leave and care sheets via the patient's portal," Joller said, adding that only those with more serious health concerns or who have no means of setting up the relevant documents via the portal or by email to contact their family doctor.

Sick leave can be taken by working people who are sick, as well as those caring for a sick child or family member or dependant, and this continues to apply to all illnesses. There are also options to take sick leave if a person is likely to have been exposed to coronavirus but symptoms have not yet developed.

"The goal is for those who are sick or who have been exposed to the virus is to stay at home so that we can together limit the spread of the [corona]virus," said Rai Laane, Health Insurance Fund chief.

The Health Insurance Fund's website in English is here.

The Patient Portal in English is here.

Users should log on using their Estonian ID card or mobile ID and then click on the invalid report menu at left. They should enter their phone number to allow a family doctor or nurse to contact them within seven days (see above). The sick leave certificate is open from the date of application to March 30 2020, ERR's online news in Estonian reports. The exact length of the required sick leave certificate would be discussed with the family doctor.

Technical questions on using the Patient Portal can be answered by email or on +372 7943 943.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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