The most recent changes to the labor legislation, in the scope of the Decent Work Agenda, which will come into force next April, foresee the creation of a new regime of justification of absences due to illness, under the worker’s honorable commitment.
The newness comes from the alteration to numbers 2 and 5 of article 254 of the Labor Code that results from a long walk on the decent work proposals.
With this new change, sick leave of up to three days may be issued when the worker’s illness does not exceed three consecutive days and without recourse to a health care facility. In this case the normal medical certificate can be replaced by a printed document via the SNS portal, similar to the Covid certificate that citizens are used to.
This will be a “self-declaration of illness”, in which the worker declares under oath, through the SNS portal, that he/she is unable to work during that period.
If, once the period of self-declaration of illness has expired, the worker maintains his medical incapacity to work, on the fourth day, he will have to go to a health unit to obtain a certificate. In this case, the three days already “spent” with the self-declaration will be added to the remaining days needed for the worker’s recovery.
As far as sick pay is concerned, the first three days, whether by self-declaration or normal medical certificate, are not subject to payment by Social Security, which will resume normal pay on the fourth day of sick leave, as has been the case until now.
The workers will only be able to use this modality twice a year, and it is not mandatory that they use three consecutive days; they can use only one or two days, as long as they only use it twice a year and up to a limit of six days.
Having the same value as a certificate emitted by a doctor, this self-declaration of illness is intended to reduce bureaucracy in the National Health Service and make life easier for workers who need to take sick leave due to slight health problems. Still, it does not rule out the penalization of fraudulent sick leave and the determination of absences considered unjustified, already foreseen in article 254 of the Labor Code.
Finally the popular saying has some fund of reason: “of doctor and madman, we all have a little!”, word of honor.
Leonor Frazão Grego @ DCM | Littler