What benefits should I pay out at the turn of the year?

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From the new year, some contribution payers will become benefit payers or lose the right to determine and pay social insurance benefits (e.g. sickness benefit, maternity benefit). If ZUS was the benefit payer until 2017, it continues the previously undertaken benefit payment after December 31, even if the contribution payer is obliged to pay the benefits from January 1. On the other hand, the contribution payer will be obliged to pay benefits (sick pay) from January 2018, if there is a break in incapacity for work or if the insured person submits a sick leave for the first time in a given calendar year. Check what benefits to pay out at the turn of the year.

Contribution payers who, as of November 30, 2017, reported more than 20 people to sickness insurance, are entitled to the determination and payment of social insurance benefits in 2018 (Article 61 of the Act of June 25, 1999 on cash benefits from social insurance in in case of sickness and maternity; hereinafter referred to as the Benefit Act). In practice, many problems arise in determining the payer of benefits at the turn of the year due to the change of the contribution payer and the start of a new limit on the payment of sick pay (33 days or 14 days).

A person employed under an employment contract, in the event of illness, is entitled to remuneration for the period of inability to work due to illness - the so-called sick pay financed by the employer (Art. 92 of the Labor Code).

The employer pays sick pay for the period of 33 days of sickness in a given calendar year. However, in the case of employees who have reached 50 years of age, the employer will finance the period of incapacity for work for the first 14 days in a calendar year.

After the sickness remuneration limit for a given calendar year has been used up, the employee becomes entitled to a sickness benefit.

As at December 31, 2017, the employer paid the employee sick pay

In a situation where the employee was entitled to sick pay on 31 December 2017, in January 2018 he should be paid sick pay for a period not longer than 33 (or 14) days. Since the employee is entitled to remuneration for the period of incapacity for work as of December 31, 2017, from the new year he has a new limit on days of sick pay. If an employee uses the 33rd day of sick pay or the 14th day, respectively, even on December 31, 2017, he or she is entitled to sick pay as of January 1, 2018.

Example 1.

An employee aged 26 was incapable of work in the period from November 29, 2017 to January 10, 2018 (33 days in 2017 and 10 days in 2018). On December 31, 2017, he was receiving sick pay, therefore, for the period from January 1, 2018 to January 10, 2018 (10 days), he should be paid sick pay.

In practice, it may happen that the employee turns 50 on December 31, 2017, then from January 1, 2018, he or she is entitled to sick pay for 14 days in a calendar year, and not for 33 days.

The right to sickness benefit as of December 31, 2017.

In a situation where an employee used his sick pay in 2017 and acquired the right to unemployment benefit as at December 31, 2017 and is still incapable of work in January 2018 (without a break day), from January 1, 2018, he will be entitled to sickness benefit for the entire period of continued illness.

However, if there is a break during the period of illness (no matter how long it is - it may even be one day), then the employer will have to pay the employee sick pay for the period of illness that follows.

Example 2.

The employee was incapable of work in the period from November 20, 2017 to December 31, 2017. On December 31, 2017, he was entitled to a sickness benefit. He provided another sick leave for the period of incapacity for work from January 2, 2018 to January 5, 2018. Due to the fact that the employee is not permanently incapable of work, i.e. there is no certified incapacity for work as of January 1, 2018 ., for the period from January 2, 2018 to January 5, 2018, the employee must be paid sick pay.

Change of the benefit payer from January 1, 2018, i.e. what benefits should be paid at the turn of the year

The payer of benefits in a given calendar year is the employer who, as of November 30, 2017, registered at least 20 people for sickness insurance. On the other hand, if he employed fewer than 20 people, the benefit payer is ZUS.

It should be added that ZUS is always a benefit payer for:

  • insured persons conducting non-agricultural activity and persons cooperating with them;

  • the insured who are clergy;

  • persons entitled to benefits for the period after the end of insurance;

  • insured persons covered by sickness insurance in Poland due to employment with a foreign employer.

In a situation where the payer did not employ employees or contractors who joined the sickness insurance as at November 30, 2017, and as at November 30, 2017, he did not report any person to sickness insurance, the number of the insured depends on who is the payer of benefits. according to the employment status for the first month in which the payer registered for sickness insurance.

If ZUS is obliged to pay the allowance, it will continue the previously initiated payment of the allowance after 31 December 2017, even if from January 1, 2018 the contribution payer is obliged to pay the allowances (Article 61 (4) and (5) of the Benefit Act).

Example 3.

The employee was unable to work due to illness from October 10, 2017 to January 5, 2018. As of November 30, 2016, the employer employed 10 people, therefore less than 20 employees, so he was not a payer of benefits in 2017. Sickness benefit paid by ZUS for the employee. On November 30, 2017, the employer already employed 30 people, so he has been the payer of benefits since January 2018. Due to the fact that ZUS was the payer of the benefit in 2017, the employer will continue to pay the sickness benefit for the entire uninterrupted period of incapacity to work - up to 5 January 2018

The contribution payer will be required to pay the benefits from January 2018 if there is a break in incapacity for work or if the insured person submits a sick leave for the first time in a given calendar year. It should be emphasized that if the payment of the benefit concerns, for example, a contractor who joined the voluntary sickness insurance, he will be entitled to sickness benefit immediately. However, if one of the employees becomes incapable of work, the employer should first pay sick pay for 33 or 14 days, respectively.

Example 4.

The Contractor who joined the sickness insurance from June 1, 2017, became incapable of work from December 1, 2017 to January 10, 2018. As of November 30, 2016, the Principal employed 8 people, thus less than 20 employees, So he was not a benefit payer in 2017. The contractor's sickness benefit was paid by ZUS. In 2018, the principal will be the benefit payer. The contractor became unable to work again from January 12, 2018 to January 31, 2018, so the benefit for this period will have to be paid by the contribution payer (the principal).

It should be added that in accordance with the resolution of the Supreme Court of August 26, 1993 (file number II UZP 20/93), the Social Insurance Institution is obliged to pay a sickness benefit to an employee of the workplace who registered employees by name for social insurance (...) and that due to the lack of means of payment, he did not fulfill his obligations in the scope of payment of the sickness benefit, after which he was liquidated.

There is an exception to the rule according to which the benefit payer is the employer who, as of November 30, reports more than 20 insured persons to sickness insurance (Article 61 (1) of the Allowance Act).

It should be done differently in a situation where the payer of contributions from the new year will no longer be the payer of benefits, then from January 1, 2018, the payer of benefits will be ZUS.

It does not matter if the insured person is unable to work without a break or started to pay the unemployment benefit in the previous year. The contribution payer must submit the documents for the payment of the allowance to the Social Insurance Institution, competent according to the seat of the contribution payer.

Example 5.

NSthe ABC shelf was a benefit payer in 2017. The employee gave birth to a child on September 11, 2017 and acquired the right to maternity benefit for the period:

  • maternity leave (20 weeks) from September 11, 2017 to January 28, 2018

  • parental leave (32 weeks) from January 29, 2018 to September 9, 2018

The maternity allowance for the period from September 11, 2017 to December 31, 2017 is required to be paid by the employer, while for the period from January 1, 2018 to September 9, 2018, the allowance is to be paid by the Social Insurance Institution.