Electronic sick leave to help employers


Sick leave, popularly known as L4, has been a headache for employers for years. An employee who, due to a temporary incapacity to work due to illness, was unable to appear in order to perform his professional duties, must provide the employer with a sick leave within 7 days. The sick person could do it on their own or through a third party, it was also possible to send the certificate by post. In practice, this regulation raised many doubts. Providing the employer with a sick leave is not only a condition for the employee to obtain benefits, but also a necessity to ensure the proper organization of work in the enterprise. Since December 2018, there has been a change and only electronic sick leave is now valid.

Electronic sick leaves will replace paper ones

For over two years, doctors have been able to issue exemptions in the form of an electronic document. As of December 1, 2018, traditional paper sick leave has been obligatorily replaced by electronic sick leave. From that date, doctors may only issue them in electronic form. Until November 30, 2018, they could be issued both in electronic and paper form.

Electronic sick leave is not only a solution beneficial for patients and their doctors, but also for the employer. He will receive information about the issued sick leave and, consequently, about the employee's absence from work, immediately.

Quick information about the employee's sick leave

The procedure for issuing a medical certificate is very simple. The doctor is obliged to submit it electronically to the Social Insurance Institution after signing the certificate with a ZUS certificate, qualified certificate or ePUAP trusted profile. Then ZUS - no later than the next day - transfers the exemption to the employer (contribution payer) via the Electronic Services Platform.

The sick leave will be sent to the inbox on the payer's profile and will also appear in the tab titled "Medical certificates". The employer will be able to download the file containing the exemption and save it on a data carrier.

The employer may receive notifications about the issued layoffs in the form of an SMS or e-mail if he selects the appropriate option in his profile settings. Importantly, the information provided to the employer does not include the statistical number of the employee's illness.

If the employee has a profile at PUE ZUS, he will also receive access to the sick leave issued for him.

An employer who employs more than 5 employees is required to set up an account on the Electronic Services Platform (PUE) of the Social Insurance Institution. For employers with fewer employees, there is no statutory obligation to do so, but they should do so.

The employer has four different options for setting up a profile at PUE ZUS. All options require registration by filling out a form on the ZUS website, but they differ in the method of identifying the account owner:

  1. confirmation of your identity in person within 7 days at any ZUS facility;

  2. registration on the ZUS website using the trusted ePUAP profile;

  3. confirmation of your identity with an electronic signature;

  4. proof of identity using online banking (note: the bank where the employer has an account must offer this service).

If the employer does not have a profile on the portal, then the employee will receive a printed copy of the issued leave.

Importantly, the employer does not have to transfer the document obtained from the employee to ZUS, because he already has the certificate in electronic form. If benefits are paid to the entrepreneur's employees by the Social Insurance Institution, the employer is obliged to issue a certificate on the Z-3 form and submit it to ZUS, and the transfer may take place via the PUE ZUS platform. The certificate entered into the system by the employer is treated as an application for benefit payment, and therefore the employee does not have to submit it on his own.

Only a natural person can create a profile at PUE ZUS. A commercial law company that employs employees operates through its statutory or statutory representatives (e.g. management board members on behalf of a limited liability company). In this case, they have the right to create a profile at PUE ZUS. The company may grant powers of attorney to these activities to other persons, e.g. employees of an accounting office.

If a person who had a profile at PUE ZUS on behalf of the employer ends his relationship with the company (e.g. a member of the management board is dismissed or the accountant is dismissed), then it will be necessary to create a new profile for a new representative of the employer.

If the employee is employed in several enterprises, then a separate certificate will be issued for each employer.

Although the Social Insurance Institution provides the doctor with the data on the employee who is granted leave, it is the doctor's responsibility to check whether they are correct. Therefore, if the insured person informs the doctor about their change - e.g. about the end of the insurance period or a change in the employer's data - the doctor is obliged to introduce these corrections to the system.

It will be possible to issue an exemption in an alternative manner, e.g. in the case of no internet access during a home visit. The doctor will then use pre-printed forms with individual identification numbers. The patient will receive a copy of the issued certificate, which he must provide to his employer. Issuing a sick leave in an alternative procedure does not release the doctor from the obligation to enter data into the PUE ZUS system.

Errors in the dismissal result in its nullity

If there is an error in the certificate, the physician who issued it will be obliged to annul it within three days. It is counted from the date the error is detected by the doctor or from the date of obtaining information (e.g. from the employer or the Social Insurance Institution) about the fact that there is an error in the content of the certificate. The document on declaration of invalidity along with the new exemption is sent by the doctor - via PUE ZUS - to the Social Insurance Institution. Information about this event is also available on the employer's profile.

It is worth remembering that, as a rule, for the period of the paid benefit, the date of the first medical certificate (error-related dismissal) is important. If the error concerns the date and is significant for the benefit period (e.g. in the event of an error in the date of the patient's stay in the hospital), then ZUS will issue a decision on the lack of the right to benefit or a change in the amount of the benefit paid out.

Easier control of the correctness of issued exemptions

Undoubtedly, the quick procedure of providing the employer with a leave issued for his employee will facilitate the organization of work in the enterprise. The employer will know without any delays or surprises that he has to replace the absent employee. At the same time, electronic sick leaves will bring employers an additional benefit in the form of easier control of the correctness of the leaves issued. The Social Insurance Institution hopes that this will reduce the number of people able to work who receive sick leave inconsistent with their actual health condition.

If the employer has doubts as to the correctness of the dismissal issued for his employee, he may submit an application to the Social Insurance Institution for an inspection. Importantly for the employer, it is possible to release the application in electronic form via PUE ZUS. The application will be automatically supplemented with information downloaded from the entrepreneur's profile and data from the questionable sick leave.

Employees will also benefit

Without any doubts, electronic sick leave is also a great help for employees. The patient does not have to deliver the obtained leave to the Social Insurance Institution or the workplace, he does not have to ask family members to provide the certificate, and he / she does not have to worry about the necessity to meet the formal conditions in order to obtain the benefit. It will no longer be required to provide the exemption within 7 days, as has been the case so far, the failure to comply with which resulted in a reduction of the benefit. Employees will undoubtedly benefit from such regulation.

As mentioned above, in the case of benefits paid by ZUS, it is the employer - and not the employee - that applies for the benefit. This is another formality the employee is released from.

Employees must remember that the issued leave is irreversible - when the leave is introduced into the system, it is sent to ZUS and then to the employer. Currently, it is up to the employee whether he or she will transfer the sick leave issued in paper form to the workplace, or whether he will want to work despite the disease. In the case of electronic exemptions, such a possibility is not possible.