Waiting period for the right to sickness benefit

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Sickness benefit is a benefit which is payable to persons subject to sickness insurance both compulsorily and voluntarily for the period of temporary inability to work due to illness. The insured person acquires the right to sickness benefit or sick pay after the expiry of the so-called waiting period. This period varies depending on the nature of the insurance.

When are you entitled to Illness Benefit?

Usually, the date of joining the sickness insurance does not coincide with the date of acquiring the right to benefits due for the period of incapacity for work.

Pursuant to Art. 4 point 1 of the Act on cash benefits from social insurance in the event of sickness and maternity (hereinafter referred to as the Benefit Act), the insured person acquires the right to sickness benefit:

  • after 30 days of uninterrupted sickness insurance - if it is compulsorily covered by this insurance,
  • after 90 days of uninterrupted sickness insurance - if it is insured voluntarily.

Exceptions to the requirement of continuing insurance

Certain exceptions have been made to the requirement of continuity of the insurance period, both for the 30-day and 90-day waiting period. The periods of sickness insurance referred to above shall include the previous periods of sickness insurance, if the interval between them did not exceed 30 days or was caused by:

  • parental leave,
  • unpaid leave
  • active military service by a lay soldier.

The right to sickness benefit from the first day of insurance

Pursuant to Art. 4 point 3 of the Benefit Act, from the first day of sickness insurance, i.e. without a waiting period, the right to sickness benefit is due:

  • graduates of schools or universities or persons who completed their education at a doctoral school, who were covered by sickness insurance or joined the sickness insurance within 90 days from the date of graduating from school or obtaining a diploma, or completing education at a doctoral school,
  • if the incapacity for work was caused by an accident on the way to or from work,
  • obligatorily insured persons who have had an earlier, at least 10-year period of compulsory sickness insurance (the period of childcare leave and unpaid leave are not included in the 10-year period of compulsory sickness insurance),
  • deputies and senators who joined sickness insurance within 90 days from the end of their term of office,
  • Customs Service officers who accepted a job offer pursuant to Art. 165 sec. 7 and art. 167 paragraph. 2 of the Act of November 16, 2016 - Regulations Introducing the Act on the National Revenue Administration (Journal of Laws, item 1948, as amended) and became employees of organizational units of the National Revenue Administration.

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Importantly, the sickness allowance is granted to an insured person who becomes incapable of work due to sickness during the period of sickness insurance.

Days of inability to work due to sickness, for which the employee did not acquire the right to sickness benefit because he did not have the appropriate period of sickness insurance, are included in the waiting period.

Post-employment sickness benefit

Pursuant to the provisions of Art. 7 of the Allowance Act, the sickness allowance is granted to a person who becomes incapable of work after the termination of the sickness insurance title, if the incapacity for work continued without interruption for at least 30 days and arose:

  • no later than within 14 days of termination of the sickness insurance title,
  • not later than within 3 months from the termination of the sickness insurance - in the case of an infectious disease, the incubation period of which exceeds 14 days, or another disease, the symptoms of which appear after a period longer than 14 days from the onset of the disease.

The sickness allowance is granted for the period of incapacity for work, but not longer than 182 days. The exception is incapacity for work during pregnancy or due to tuberculosis, when the right to sickness benefit is granted for a maximum of 270 days.