Sick leave for a sick child - when is it due?


Almost every employee who is a parent has, at least once, used a sick leave for a sick child. The Labor Code allows parents-employees to justify their absence from work due to the need to provide childcare. Who is entitled to this right, to what extent and is the employee entitled to remuneration for this period?

When will the doctor issue a sick leave for a sick child?

L4 for a sick child can be obtained if there is a need to care for a sick family member. Both the mother and the father of the child can use such a solution, but they cannot provide this care at the same time. However, it is important that the parent is covered by sickness insurance, because thanks to this, his absence from work will be justified, and the employee will be entitled to care allowance for the duration of this absence. The sick leave may be issued for one's own child, adopted child or for upbringing, and for the spouse's child (however, its adoption is not obligatory).

When is care allowance for a sick child entitled?

The rules of granting the care allowance are regulated by the Act on cash benefits for sickness and maternity. In the event of a child's illness, the said benefit will be due when:

  • the parent is subject to sickness insurance;
  • there is no person in the household who could take care of the descendant.

It is important that if one of the parents has a pronounced incapacity for work and their child falls ill at the same time, then the other guardian may take sick leave. Although one of the parents resides in the household, the fact that they are ill is synonymous with the fact that they cannot provide adequate care for their offspring. In such a situation, the parent who wants to take advantage of the care allowance should provide the employer with a copy of the sick leave.

The care allowance is paid in the amount of 80% of the allowance calculation basis and is due from the first day of sickness insurance coverage - there is no waiting period, as in the case of sickness allowance.

Use of care allowance by parents at the same time

As mentioned earlier, parents cannot claim childcare allowance at the same time. However, there is an exception to this rule. It is about a situation where one of the children is sick and the other is in the hospital and it is imperative that one of the caregivers stay there with him. Due to the inability to provide care in two locations by one of the parents, the father and mother may then be granted sick leave.

Sick leave per child

A parent may take a sick leave for a sick child in order to provide personal care for him, but to a certain extent. The length of such a release depends on the age of the child. Parents of younger children are entitled to 60 days of sick leave in a calendar year until the child turns 14. This dimension is independent of the number of children you have. If a child turns 14, the parent may look after him / her for a maximum of 14 days a year. Parents of disabled children who have reached the age of 14 but are still underage, may receive care allowance for 30 days during the calendar year. It is also worth mentioning that the employee may also use the care of a family member other than the child, and the benefits for this time may be collected for a maximum of 14 days per year. The period of receiving care allowance in a given calendar year may not exceed 60 days. If the employee uses 14 days of care for a family member other than the child, the 60-day limit will be reduced accordingly by the period already used.

Example 1.

Mrs. Maria has two children - a daughter aged 8 and a son aged 11. In May 2021, Maria received a sick leave in order to care for her sick son for a period of 22 days. In October, her daughter fell ill and received L4 again, this time for 17 days.In November, her mother fell ill, and therefore she received another leave to look after her for a period of 14 days. In total, during the year, Ms Maria used 53 days of care, which means that in 2021 she may receive a carer's allowance for 7 days.

The employee should remember that the limit reduces each calendar day of caring for a sick child. This means that if a sick child is also issued with a sick leave for non-working days, they are also included in the total amount of care.

If the employee exceeds the period of 60 days of sick leave for the child, then his absence should be treated as a justified absence. For the time when he will not perform work, he is not entitled to remuneration.

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Documents for the care allowance

The employer will see his employee's sick leave on the PUE account. In order for the employee to receive the benefit, the employer must additionally submit to ZUS a certificate of the ZUS Z-3 contribution payer. In addition, the insured person should submit to the Social Insurance Institution or submit an application Z-15a to the employer, in which he indicates:

  • the period for which you will apply for the benefit;
  • details of the child to be cared for;
  • statements:
    • are there family members who can look after the child;

    • whether the applicant works in a shift work system;

    • does the applicant stay with him / her in the same household when caring for a child over 14 years of age;

    • whether the applicant changed the contribution payer during the year;

  • details of the other parent or spouse, if they are not a parent;
  • details of another family member who has received the childcare allowance for whom the benefit is claimed.

The Z-15a application should be submitted to your contribution payer as soon as possible.

Sick leave for a sick child during annual leave

It may happen that the employee's child becomes ill during the holiday. The employee may then take a sick leave from the doctor. In such a situation, the leave is not interrupted due to the need to provide care for a sick child. As a result, the employee does not retain the right to the allowance for the period of the child's illness - he or she can provide care for the child because he or she is on holiday leave and is entitled to remuneration for the holiday period.

Losing the right to care allowance

According to the regulations, if the sick leave is not used for its intended purpose, the insured person loses the right to care allowance. This applies to situations where an employee performs paid work while caring for it or when there is a household member who could look after the child.

If the above-mentioned events are found during the inspection, the employee is obliged to return the received benefit with interest.

Example 2.

Mrs. Luiza received a sick leave for a sick child, indicating that there were no people at home who could take care of her daughter at a given time. During the inspection, it turned out that one of the household members was a grandmother who could take care of her granddaughter. Consequently, Mrs. Luiza had to reimburse the benefit she had received. If the grandmother's health condition did not allow her to take care of her granddaughter, then the dismissal for a child would be justified.

Dismissal for a sick child is one of the employee's privileges for the period of which he / she is entitled to care allowance. It is important that you only use this release if the conditions are met. Abuses in this respect may result in the employee being without funds for the entire period for which L4 was issued.