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Estonia: The Government approved, in principle, the extension of sickness benefits from the second day of illness

NordenBladet — At the cabinet meeting, the Government approved the extension of the regulation governing sickness benefits starting from the second day of illness, and Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik will submit a proposal to Parliament, on behalf of the Government, to initiate the corresponding amendments to the law. The regulation is temporary and is planned to remain in force from 1 January – 30 April 2021.

Pursuant to the draft that was approved by the Government, it shall be specified that the employee deductible for the compensation of sick days shall be reduced to one day instead of the previous three days. In addition, the responsibility of employers to pay sickness benefits will change, with employers now being responsible for reimbursing employees for 70 per cent of the employee’s average salary between the second and fifth days of illness. At the same time, the liability of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund will increase, henceforth being responsible for compensating the costs of sickness benefits starting from the sixth day of illness.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas stated that the spread of the coronavirus in Estonia is epidemic in nature and that the state, employees and employers must each do everything possible to make the impact of the virus on human health and the Estonian economy less devastating. ‘The coronavirus is no longer spreading through clusters of outbreaks in Estonia, having instead taken on the form of a fully-fledged epidemic, with infection being possible everywhere. Which is why a common effort by everyone is critical. The Government is expanding the regulation of sickness benefits so that employees can stay at home even when experiencing only mild symptoms of illnesses, without fear of a loss of income for the first few days of the illness. This regulation is essential in order to keep our economic circulation going even during the conditions of the coronavirus epidemic.’

The compensation of sick days from the second day onwards helps to maintain workers’ incomes in the event of illness, reduces the risk of people who are ill going to work, and thus limits the spread of COVID-19.

‘We now see that the focal points of infections are often workplaces. Moving up the compensation period for sick days allows people to stay at home at the onset of the first symptoms, without experiencing a significant loss in their income as a result’, said Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik. ‘In order to limit the spread of the disease, it is important that the amendment allows compensation to be paid to close contacts of infected people under the same conditions’.

The new regulation is planned to apply to compensation for incapacity for work issued from 1 January through 30 April 2020.

 

Source: Estonian Government

 



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