Sick pay from day two of an illness has received the go ahead from an employers' representative body, and may come into effect before year end. The change is aimed at reflecting coronavirus-era realities.
The Confederation of Employers (Tööndjate keskliit) conceded the point Wednesday, which should end a situation where people on sick leave would often have no sick pay for the first three days, paying it for four consecutive days from the fourth day of illness; the state's sick pay starts from day nine.
The principle of employers not paying sick pay from day one has behind it the avoidance of abusing the system by "chucking a sickie", but is complicated by coronavirus considerations, where employers are urged to prevent employees coming to work with mild potential COVID-19 symptoms.
The change would also alter the stage at which the state, via the Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa) takes up the baton, which it would do from day six, with employers being liable for sick pay from day two to five inclusive.
Day one would still legally require no sick pay.
"This would certainly help to stay at home and not go to work in case of illness and thus prevent the spread of the virus," Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik explained to ERR. "The one-day deductible remains, in particular, because sick days will not be taken for the wrong reasons, whatever the other circumstances."
The move would require legislation which would have to pass three readings at the Riigikogu, but Kiik told ERR he hoped it would pass into law before year end.
The situation will also be assessed after a year or more, including looking at its effects on the budget, the incidence of sick pay and any abuse of the system, after which the procedure could either be tweaked or remain as is.
Editor: Andrew Whyte