Companies are losing profits in the era of coronavirus, and employees, fearing losing their income, run away on sick leave. The closer to autumn, when the next pandemic attack is expected, the number of “L-4” may increase even more.
– I have always been an honest employee when it was necessary and after hours I was left without additional money, but since my boss started scaring us with layoffs, because the company earns less due to the coronavirus, I couldn’t stand it and went to a psychiatrist. When I told about the stress I had been under the last month, he wrote it to me without any problems sick leave. I dream of being scared by the boss at night, I have anxiety states – says Mr. Kamil, an employee of one of the SME companies in Bydgoszcz.
L-4 will be more and more
There may be more and more such cases of taking a disease when it comes to the next fall COVID-19 wave. People, fearing that they will lose their jobs, will flee to “L-4”. It turns out that the anti-crisis shields did not prevent layoffs, and throughout the country, incl. in our region, there is an increase in unemployment. Employees fearing redundancy and wanting to overtake the “boss’s move”, go for a long and protracted “L4” – according to the data of the consulting company Conperio, which deals with helping companies struggling with the problem of sickness absenteeism.
-The number of “L4” issued at one time for a period between six and fourteen days has increased – comments Mikołaj Zając, CEO of Conperio. – These are exemptions that are elusive for the Social Insurance Institution, because they are too short to be summoned to a commission or inspected.
Zając says that the coronavirus epidemic caused by far the most damage in such industries as, for example, aviation or tourism, but not only: they are on sick leave no. This is how the vicious cycle of false sick leave is fueled. The increased trend of their collection, for fear of dismissal, reflects 8.3 percent. increase in “L4” issued for a period between 6 and 14 days in the second quarter of this year compared to 2019.
Long absences of employees are a problem for many employers.
A significant number of prolonged sick leave may be a way of escaping a difficult situation in the workplace or straightforwardly reducing a position. However, regardless of the subordinate’s motivation to take a false L4, if the employer has suspicions as to the correctness of the sick leave, he has the right to inspect the employee.
– Employee checks are carried out throughout the country. Each time a report is drawn up, which indicates what was the improper use of the exemption, if any. Each time, an interview with the employee is also conducted, thanks to which we can provide employers with valuable feedback in the form of, for example, the motives of subordinates going to L4. In the event of finding irregularities, the employer may decide to deprive him of the benefits due to him for the period of dismissal – explains Mikołaj Zając.
What does it look like in our region?
– The largest increase in the number of layoffs was recorded in the two weeks of March from 9 to 15 and from 16 to 22 March, then the ZUS offices in the region received 32.4 thousand. and 38.8 thous. sick leave – informs Krystyna Michałek, the regional spokeswoman for ZUS in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship.
Now it is from 12 thousand. up to 21 thousand weekly layoffs. But, the closer to autumn, there may be more and more of them.
“After all, you have to live on something” – argues an internet user in our Business Zone.
ZUS carries out two types of sick leave inspections. The first concerns their use, and the second concerns the ruling of temporary incapacity to work. In the first case, the employees of ZUS check whether the sick person uses the sick leave as intended and complies with the doctor’s recommendations, and not, for example, working, renovating the apartment or performing other work that could extend the recovery. Importantly, such inspection can also be carried out by employers who employ more than 20 employees.
The second type of control is the control of the correctness of adjudication of temporary incapacity to work due to illness. These inspections are carried out by ZUS certifying doctors, who check whether the sick leave has been validly issued and whether the person on the sick leave is still sick.. This control may also take place on the basis of the medical documentation on the basis of which the doctor issued the certificate.