Illness in pregnancy - a compendium of knowledge about sick leave
"I'm pregnant and I wonder if I should go on sick leave?" This is one of the questions most frequently asked by future working mothers. This topic raises a lot of controversy - the question arises whether in every case the disease in pregnancy is justified? Nobody will deny that some of them are justified and do not constitute abuses, but a large percentage of them raise doubts.
The following article is a compendium of knowledge for mothers-to-be who are faced with a difficult choice: career continuation or rest before childbirth?
Who is entitled to sickness benefit?
Depending on the form of employment, whether it is a contract of employment, commission or work, the situation is slightly different. The right to sickness benefit depends on whether a woman has sickness insurance for a specified period of time, and it is acquired after:
- 30 days of uninterrupted sickness insurance for employed persons, including the periods of previous insurance if the interruption in sickness insurance did not exceed 30 days;
- 90 days of uninterrupted insurance for persons covered by voluntary sickness insurance (e.g. self-employed persons);
- exceptionally, the right to the allowance is due from the first day of insurance in the case of:
people unable to work due to an accident on the way to or from work;
an employee with at least 10 years of compulsory sickness insurance;
a graduate of school or university, if he / she joined the insurance within the 90th day of graduating from school or obtaining a university diploma.
The most comfortable situation for a woman is when she is employed under a contract of employment. In such a situation, one is entitled to a sick leave even for the entire duration of pregnancy. A sick leave during pregnancy may last up to 270 days (which is practically the entire duration of it).
In a situation where a woman is employed on the basis of a different form of employment, the matter becomes a bit more complicated. Women employed under a specific task contract are not eligible for paid sick leave, as they are not subject to sickness insurance under a contract for a specific task. On the other hand, those employed under a mandate contract or running a business have such an option, but only after 90 days from the date of self-application for sickness insurance.
It should be remembered, however, that working women are entitled to sick leave when their duties could actually harm the health of the future mother, and thus also her offspring. The mere fact of being pregnant is not a reason requiring a woman to be referred for sick leave.
Illness in pregnancy and the amount of the allowance
During pregnancy, the sickness benefit is 100% of the calculation basis, which for employees is generally equal to 100% of the average monthly salary. Sickness benefit is payable for each day of incapacity for work, including non-working days. It is a percentage of the average remuneration accrued over the last 12 months of work. However, the 100% sickness benefit is subject to providing the employer with information about pregnancy, in which case the ZUS e-ZLA medical leave is marked with the code B. .
Can the employer send for sick leave?
According to the regulations, the employer has no right to force a pregnant woman to go on a sick leave. It happens, however, that employers suggest it to their employees. This is due to the fact that for the first 33 days of the sick leave, the employer pays the sick pay, and after that time the payments are made by ZUS. In this situation, the employer, after a period of 33 days, does not incur any costs, which means that he can hire a replacement employee, for example on slightly worse financial conditions.
Who can issue an exemption?
Both a family doctor, gynecologist or other specialist can issue a sick leave for a pregnant woman. Of course, this release may be issued in the event of a real threat to the health of the future mother or when there are circumstances that threaten the pregnancy. Pregnancy itself is not an indication to go on sick leave.
When to deliver the dismissal to the employer?
It is best to notify the employer of the sick leave as soon as possible. This can be done by phone or e-mail, because according to the law, the employee has 2 days to notify about the absence. In a situation where the employer does not have an account with PUE ZUS, the employee is obliged to provide the employer with an electronic printout of the e-ZLA exemption within 7 days.
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What should be on L4?
It is up to the doctor issuing the sick leave to determine the circumstances which affect the woman's entitlement to the benefit. It does this by using a letter code, which is identified by the letter B in the event of incapacity for work during pregnancy.
How long can I be on sick leave and / or how long will I be entitled to sickness benefit?
During pregnancy, the insured person is entitled to sickness benefit due to illness or hospital stay for the period of sick leave for no longer than 270 days.
The exemption is granted until the day before the birth, then the maternity leave begins. If the pregnant woman uses the entire benefit period (270 days) before the termination, then she may start taking maternity leave, during which time she will receive the maternity benefit. Importantly, you can start your vacation earlier only if you wish.
If the childbirth takes place after the prescribed date, then the earlier maternity leave is counted from the date indicated by the doctor.
What about job security?
The employer may not terminate the employment contract (for an indefinite period or for a specified period longer than the designated date of childbirth) with a pregnant woman and during her maternity leave. However, this provision does not apply to contracts concluded for a trial period not exceeding one month and to contracts for replacement. Agreements concluded for a definite period or a trial period exceeding one month, which would be terminated after the third month of pregnancy, are automatically extended until the date of delivery.
Who pays sickness benefit?
For sick leave during the first 33 days of the sick leave, the remuneration is paid by the employer. From the 34th day, this obligation is transferred to ZUS, which pays the sickness benefit. This gives both the employer and the Social Insurance Institution the right to control the honesty of the use of the sick leave.
What about checks during sick leave?
In justified cases, ZUS may question the sick leave and suspend the payment of sickness benefit also to a pregnant woman. Before making such a decision, however, he must check whether the sick leave is properly used and whether the incapacity for work is justified. In this situation, ZUS determines whether paid work is actually not performed during the period of the medical incapacity for work or whether the pregnant woman does not use the leave in a manner inconsistent with its intended use. Before making such a decision, ZUS may refer the woman through a certified physician to additional medical examinations to be carried out by a consultant appointed by the office. He may also request access to medical documentation from the doctor who issued such an exemption. In the event of any irregularities being found, the right to sickness benefit may be forfeited for the entire duration of the issued sick leave. In addition, ZUS may also decide to shorten the sick leave and deprive you of the right to sickness benefit. However, this rarely happens when it comes to sickness during pregnancy.
Illness in pregnancy - summary
It is known that pregnant women should take special care of both themselves and the baby to be born. Activity on the social or professional level during this period is not excluded, and combining it with a healthy lifestyle and regular supervision of specialists will undoubtedly not have a negative impact on the health of the baby to be born. On the contrary, it can bring many benefits to both of you.
Sick leave is not a necessity that pregnant women should strive for at all costs. However, if the doctor notices any threats and decides to refer the patient to sick leave, it is advisable to exercise the right at that time.