Absences due to Illness
An employee has a right to be absent from work when he/she is unable to perform work because of illness or an accident. According to the Employment Contract Act, the obligation to pay salary lasts from the day the employee became unable to perform work up to the end of the ninth working day after this. If the employment relationship has lasted for less than a month the employee is entitled to receive 50% of his/her salary as sick pay. Many collective bargaining agreements, however, provide for a considerably longer period.
The employee’s right to receive a sick pay requires that the employee did not cause the illness or accident on purpose or by gross negligence.
If an employee wishes to receive sick pay, he/she is required to provide the employer when requested with a medical certificate setting out the diagnosis for the illness and the possible disability resulting from work. Illness does not always entail an inability to perform work but the doctor will assess the employee’s incapacity to work based on the employee’s profession. If the employee has been confirmed incapable to work he/she must not be allowed to undertake any work unless he/she provides the employer with a new medical certificate evidencing his/her regained ability to perform work. An employer is not obliged to accept a single day of absence without a medical certificate. For practical reasons most companies do, however, accept absences of 1-3 days without a separate medical certificate as well as absences with a nurses certificate in epidemic situations. The employer also has a right to require a new medical certificate and choose the doctor whom the employee must visit to obtain such, if it has justifiable grounds for doing so. When the employer has paid the sick pay to the employer, he/she is entitled to receive a daily benefit belonging to the employee according to the Health Insurance Act or Employment Accidents Act from the same period of time. The employer, however, can receive only the amount of money that is equivalent to the pay he/she has paid.
During the holiday entitlement year (1.4-31.3) the employee may earn annual holiday from up to 75 days, during which the employee has been absent due to illness. If the employee falls ill before the commencement of the holiday, the holiday must be postponed upon the employee’s request. If the employee falls ill during the holiday, and the inability to work continues for more than seven days, days exceeding this are not counted as annual holiday.
It is possible for the employer and the employee to agree on the part-time work based on employee’s illness in accordance to the grounds provided in the Health Insurance Act. The agreement is made for fixed-time and after the agreement expires, he/she has the right to return to the previous fulltime work. Social Insurance Institution pays part-time daily sickness allowance to the employee for the time employer has worked part-time because of the sickness.
As a main rule, the right to terminate the employment relationship is unaffected by illnesses. If, however, the employee’s ability to work has been permanently lost or reduced in the sense that the preconditions for the employment relationship are no longer present, the employer may cancel the employment contract. For further information see [18.104.22.168 Illness].