The days are numbered for all salaried workers to notify their companies of temporary disability (TI) leave when they have a medical mishap and cannot work. The last Council of Ministers of the year approved last week a Royal Decree that introduced modifications in the management and control of processes for temporary disability (IT) in the first 365 days of their duration.
Specifically, the Government has eliminated the obligation of self-employed workers to be the ones who must transfer the medical leave reports to their companies, since it will be the company that has to obtain the information from the Administration. Thus, according to the text of those responsible for Social Security, “only one copy (of the leave) will be delivered to the worker; and both the second copy is eliminated, as well as the obligation that it be the worker himself who delivers this copy to the company, management entity or mutual”. In this way, the second copy of the medical leave and discharge reports that the employee was obliged to send to his company will disappear, by the route chosen by the worker himself.
As an alternative, the norm will stipulate that “communication between the issuing entities and the INSS will be telematic, avoiding procedures that can be burdensome for people who are in a situation of temporary disability and taking advantage of the possibilities of improving the effectiveness and efficiency that the advances offer. in digitization and information technologies.
However, this Royal Decree approved last week by the Council of Ministers and which modifies Royal Decree 625/2014, will not yet enter into force until it is soon published in the Official State Gazette (BOE). Article 7.1 of that Royal Decree of 2014 was the one that established the obligation of the worker to deliver the medical leave and discharge reports to his employer.
Subsequently, the courts have determined that since the law did not specify the channel by which said reports should be sent to the companies, it would be the prerogative of the employee to choose by which mechanism he reports compliance with this obligation. This has made it possible, for example, to send the parties by email.
Those responsible for Social Security have decided to adopt this measure “in order to expedite procedures and eliminate bureaucratic obligations that unnecessarily prolong the processes, which is an important benefit for companies, workers and for the doctors of the Public Health Services themselves” .
According to the latest audited figures for the year closed corresponding to 2021 from the Association of Mutual Insurance Companies for Work Accidents (AMAT) – which are in charge of managing 100% of sick leave due to work accidents and also, at the option of the companies, more than 80% of sick leave due to common illness – the average incidence of this type of sick leave affects around 25 workers for every 1,000 protected employees among salaried employees; and only 8.7 self-employed.
These figures, which were revised in March 2022, also indicate that the average duration of a medical leave varies depending on who manages it, although there are no large fluctuations. In the case of employees, absences from work certified with one of these leaves lasted 45.9 days in 2021 if they were managed by a Social Security mutual and 49 days if they were directly by the Social Security system.
In the case of self-employed workers, sick leave lasts more than double that of salaried workers. Specifically, 115 days, managed by mutuals. And this duration is multiplied by three, up to 300 days on average in the case of self-employed leave managed by the INSS, which are those who have already passed a medical court after completing one year of leave.
What does not seem to be going to change is that the issuance of sick leave and discharge reports for common illnesses continues to be the exclusive responsibility of the doctors of the regional health services (head doctors of each autonomous community), despite the constant attempts of the mutuals to empower their doctors to do so. This measure never stops being taken despite the fact that IT spending is one of those that all governments want to tackle. In fact, next year will mean a disbursement of close to 12,000 million euros. It represents 6.14% of Social Security spending and is the second largest budget item in the system after pension payments.
More medical reviews
- Future text. The Royal Decree approved by the last Council of Ministers of 2022, which modifies Royal Decree 625/2014 of July 18 and which has yet to be published in the BOE for it to enter into force, also specifies that “in the processes of incapacity for fear, Physicians from the Public Health Service, from the collaborating company or from the mutual may set medical review periods that are shorter than those indicated in the Royal Decree, depending on the evolution of the process”. This is to “avoid interpretative doubts caused by the current wording of the standard,” they add from Social Security.
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