Illness and employment relationship
- you must tell your employer as soon as you know how long you are going to be on sick leave
- your illness is not a legal reason for your employer to fire you
- however, if your illness means that you cannot work, in some cases the employer has the right to let you go.
You must tell your employer yourself. Do it as soon as you know when your sick leave starts. If you are too ill to do it yourself, one of your family members or the care staff will let your employer know. If you do not go to work because you are ill, and you do not tell your employer or bring in the medical certificate the employer asks for, the employer may give you a warning or let you go.
During the first ten days of your sick leave, you will receive wages paid by your employer. You may then get sickness allowance paid by Kela. If your employer pays you wages when you are sick also after the first ten days, either under the collective agreement in your field or your employment contract, Kela may pay your sickness allowance to the employer.
As a rule, no. Under law, you cannot fire an employee because they have an illness or a disability. However, if the illness affects your capacity for work significantly or over a long period and the employer cannot offer you work suitable for you, the employer may let you go. Employers who employ people in many kinds of duties, also have an obligation duty to look for and offer you suitable work in their other units or departments, not just the one in which you worked before.
If your employer knew about your long-term illness or disability when you made the employment contract, the employer cannot let you go just because you have an illness or a disability.
Yes. You must yourself talk to the employer as soon as possible and ask them to move your holiday. You also have the right to move your holiday if you know in advance that, for example, you are going to have an operation during your holiday, or you will be on sick leave for some other reason.
Different sectors interpret the law differently in cases where an employee falls ill during his/her annual leave. Usually, you must take the first six days of your sick leave during your holiday (your personal liability days), but if you are ill for longer than this, you have the right to take the other days of your holiday later. However, if the collective agreement for your sector says that you have no personal liability days, or that the number of these days is less than six, the employer must move the days during which you are ill as stated in your collective agreement. Ask for a medical certificate as soon as possible after you fall ill, as doctors should not include days that have already passed in the certificates. Even when falling ill, an employee has the right for a four-week leave, and the personal liability days do not affect his/her right to it
Yes. You will get annual holiday days as usual until the 75th day of your sick leave. If the same illness stops you from going to work for longer than this, you will not get annual holidays corresponding to these extra days.
Kela may reject your application for sickness allowance for example because your application has not been filled in correctly, or because Kela thinks that your capacity for work is already better. In this case, you have the right to talk to your doctor again and add more information to your application. In some cases, you can appeal the decision.
If you think that you are still not able to work and the doctor who treats you agrees, your employer will organise a meeting with the occupational health care services. At this meeting your possibilities of returning to your former job or some other duties will be discussed. If no other work can be found, the occupational health care doctor will write a new medical certificate for you so that you can get an extra period of sickness allowance or rehabilitation. Even if you are not able to work in your old job, you might be able to do something else.
If you do not have a job and your doctor says you are not well enough to work at the time Kela stops paying you sickness allowance, you have to register as an unemployed jobseeker and find out if you could be placed in a rehabilitation program.