Law making sick pay due from day two of illness comes into effect

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Medications, tissues and hot water bottle (picture is illustrative). Source: Pixabay

From January 1 this year, sick pay has been due from day two of a period of illness, following a legislative change late last year.

Previously, sick pay had only been applicable from the employer from day four of a period of illness, with the state taking over payments after day nine.

Now amendments to the relevant act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, sees the employer pick up the tab from day two to day five. While this means the employer has to take on the responsibility earlier than before, the number of days the employer has to cover as sick pay has been reduced from five to four.

The rationale behind the change was to encourage those with even the mildest coronavirus symptoms to stay off work. Previously, since an employee would potentially be out-of-pocket for three days if they declared sick, individuals with mild COVID-19 symptoms were often coming to work instead, running the risk of spreading the virus further.

The state, via the Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa), takes over from day six, following amendments to the Health Insurance Act, in the case of all people who are either employees or have been contributing social tax if self-employed or a business owner.

The change is temporary, and is currently set to run to April 30.

Sick pay had originally required three days of illness before activating to avoid abuse of the system via throwing a "sickie", with the rationale being the lack of pay being a disincentive for doing this.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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