If illness or accident prevents you from working, you must inform the employer about the absence without delay. It has often been agreed at the workplace whom to inform about an absence and how many days one can be absent due to an illness without a medical certificate. Usually sick leaves are reported to the supervisor, to whom also the medical certificate is submitted, if necessary.
You must always present a medical certificate (or another certificate from a healthcare professional) of disability to work, if the employer requests it. The certificate can be obtained from your occupational health service or another health station.
Sick leave is intended for recovering from sickness, and it is not required to work or follow work issues during it. When returning to work after a more severe illness or longer absence, the occupational health service is there to support you.
When to go on sick leave?
Falling ill is not the end of the world. Often especially young employees may find it hard to stay on sick leave from work.
It is, however, good to remember that it makes sense to stay away from work already at the early stages of the illness, because it will speed up the recovery and the disease will not be transmitted to colleagues and customers.
This is particularly important in restaurant and caring professions and in physically demanding jobs. In case you are insecure whether you should stay on sick leave make an appointment with the occupational health nurse.
You have the right to get paid during your sickness. The employer may request you to submit a doctor’s or another health care professional’s certificate. You should submit it promptly. The sick pay is paid for the days following the day you fell ill, by law for no more than 9 days. Full wages are paid in employment that has lasted more than a month. Half of the normal wages are paid in employment of less than a month.
The collective labour agreements may provide for longer sick pay payment periods. After this, Kela will pay a daily allowance according to the Sickness Insurance Act against an application. If the employer pays wages for the duration of the sickness, Kela will pay the daily allowance to the employer.
All employees have a right to a safe and healthy working environment. The employer has a duty to organize physically and mentally healthy working conditions. It is the duty of the occupational healthcare to prevent work-related illnesses and accidents and to promote employees’ health and ability to work.
The employer is accountable for the costs of occupational healthcare and gets a compensation for them from Kela. The employer is not obliged to offer healthcare services, it is voluntary. Most employers offer at least some healthcare services, and it is recommended to do so. When the working conditions are known, it is easier to assess e.g. the need for sick leave and the role of work in promoting health and treating illnesses. The services must be equal to the whole personnel.
A new employee has the right to be instructed and advised on issues relating to the health and safety at work. If the duties involve a special risk of becoming ill, the employee must have a health check at the beginning of the employment. This also applies to substitutes and other fixed-term employees.