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New guidelines regarding sick leave during the coronavirus pandemic

As a result of the coronavirus, the Swedish government has issued new guidelines relating to sick pay, medical certificates, and qualifying period deductions. Here is a summary of the changes.

The coronavirus pandemic is putting the Swedish healthcare sector and Swedish companies to the test. The Swedish government has introduced several measures to ease the strain on the Swedish healthcare sector and to lessen the financial impact on employers due to an increase in sick pay costs. 

The purpose of this state support is to reduce the spread of the virus in society by encouraging people to stay at home if they show even the slightest sign of illness. The inevitable impact of this is an increase in sick pay costs for Swedish employers at a time when many companies are experiencing a reduction in income due to a waning market.

The state will bear the cost of sick pay

In order to lighten the financial load for companies, the government has decided that the state will temporarily compensate employers for their sick pay costs. The current relief package will cover sick pay costs from day 1 to day 14 throughout April and May 2020 and may be extended thereafter. The employer must pay the employee’s sick pay as normal and report the cost to the Swedish Tax Agency. The employer is then compensated by way of the company’s tax account. 

Medical certificate requirements relating to illness and the care of children are changing

On 13 March 2020, the requirement for a medical certificate for the first 14 days of illness was temporarily abolished until further notice. For employers, this means that sick pay must be paid as normal for the first two weeks without requiring a medical certificate. In addition the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, Försäkringskassan, has extended this period even further on its side, stating that a medical certificate is required only from the 22nd day of sick leave in order for the individual to receive sick pay. Employers are not affected by Försäkringskassan extending the period. 

It is important to remember that employers’ rehabilitation responsibilities remain unchanged despite the temporary changes to the rules.

Reduced financial impact for employees due to sick leave

The relief package presented by the government on 13 March 2020 states that the qualifying period deduction has been abolished temporarily from 11 March to 31 May 2020. In practice this means that employers must continue to deduct the qualifying period from the employee’s salary as before. It is then up to the employee to seek reimbursement for the deduction from Försäkringskassan. This therefore lessens the financial impact for the employee.

Measures go hand in hand                                  

All of the state support relating to sick leave has been implemented by the government in an effort to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus. Ensuring that employees do not suffer financial hardship and that companies need not incur increased costs as a result of factors outside of their control are just two of the objectives of the relief packages. All of the state support mentioned is designed to assist every employer and every employee, whatever the industry and however you have been affected financially by the pandemic. This support is available regardless of the type of illness or injury behind the employee’s sick leave.

If you feel you need support on these issues, Azets can help. Contact us here.