Guidelines for employees in the event of illness
According to the Employment Contracts Act (55/2001), if you are prevented from performing your work as a result of an illness or an accident, you are entitled to sick pay.
- If your employment relationship has lasted a minimum of one month, you are entitled to full pay up to the end of the ninth sick day.
- If your employment relationship has continued for less than one month, you are entitled to 50% of your pay for these days.
- You are not entitled to sick pay if you have caused your incapacity for work wilfully or through gross negligence.
On request, you must present your employer with a reliable account of your incapacity for work.
PAM’s collective agreements specify better terms and conditions for sick pay than provided by law. In most agreements, the employer’s obligation to pay wages and salaries is up to 8 weeks, depending on the duration of employment. For the paid period of sick leave, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) either pays national sickness allowance directly to your employer or the difference of your pay and allowance to you, depending on the applicable collective agreement. If the illness takes longer than the employer’s obligation to pay wages and salaries specified in the collective agreement, Kela pays national sickness allowance to you. Collective agreements also include further provisions on notification of sick leave, medical certificates, recurrence of illness and illness of employees’ children aged under 10.
The amount of national sickness allowance is based on taxable earnings from employment, such that people with lower incomes receive a higher percentage share of their earnings than those with higher incomes. The allowance is payable for a period of 300 weekdays. National sickness allowance is not granted to people who are studying or receive rehabilitation allowance, accident compensation or pension. Unemployed people are entitled to receive national sickness allowance after 55 sick days.
Part-time sickness allowance
You have the opportunity to return to your previous work on a part-time basis when the waiting period of 1+9 days for national sickness allowance has run out. Your working hours should be reduced to 40–60% of your regular hours. For the period of part-time sickness allowance, you receive full pay and Kela pays part-time sickness allowance to your employer.
Part-time sickness allowance is payable for a period of 12–120 weekdays. You can apply for part-time sickness allowance from Kela and the amount is always 50% of your full-time sickness allowance.
In order to receive part-time sickness allowance, you must be in full-time employment. Full-time employment means paid employment where an employee’s working hours are equivalent to the regular full-time working hours normally applied within the sector in question. According to Kela’s prior interpretation, 30 weekly working hours satisfy the full-time condition in the commercial sector. However, it is advisable to check the definition of full-time employment applied by your local Kela office before signing a part-time employment contract.
If you work regularly and simultaneously in two or more part-time jobs, you may receive part-time sickness allowance. Employment is considered to be full-time if the combined working hours amount to at least 35 hours per week. In such cases, part-time sickness allowance is paid directly to you.
If you are taking a period of part-time sickness allowance, you must present Kela with medical certificate B, which includes a statement of your working capacity and details of the fact that part-time work will not endanger your health and recovery.
You and your employer should sign a written fixed-term contract for the period of part-time sick leave. The contract must indicate the duration of the contract, the working time arrangement agreed (current working hours, part-time working hours), the pay for the period of part-time work and the effects of part-time sick leave on the accrual of annual holiday entitlement and holiday pay.
If you are no longer able to perform part-time work due to illness, however, the contract will expire and you will return or transfer to full-time sick leave with full-time sickness allowance.