According to the current rules, employers will generally not be entitled to a refund of sickness pay until after the first 30 calendar days (the employer period). In principle, self-employed people are not entitled to sickness pay for the first two weeks’ absence (the own period).
Self-employed persons’ right to a refund
A self-employed person is entitled to sickness benefit from the local authorities during the first two weeks of the sickness period, if the incapacity for work is due to covid-19.
Furthermore, the self-employed person will be entitled to a refund if the self-employed person cannot carry out his work because of a recommendation from the health authorities to specific groups of people to stay at home in connection with the attempts to fight covid-19.
It is thus a condition that the self-employed person belongs to a group of people whom the health authorities recommend to stay at home because of covid-19. It is also a condition that the self-employed person cannot carry out his/her work from home. If the self-employed person is working fully or partially from home, the sickness benefit will lapse fully or in part.
Employers’ right to a refund
An employer is entitled to a refund from the local authorities during the first 30 calendar days of the sickness period if the employer’s incapacity to work is due to covid-19, and the employer fulfils the conditions of the act. This means that the employer will receive a refund of sickness benefit from the first day of absence for employees if the reason for the employee’s absence is covid-19.
The employer will also be entitled to a refund if the employee is unable to carry out his/her work because of a recommendation from the health authorities to specific groups of people to stay at home because of specific circumstances in connection with covid-19.
The following conditions must be fulfilled
- It is a condition that the employee belongs to one of the groups which should according to the recommendations of the health authorities stay at home because of covid-19. This may be because of trips to specific areas for which the health authorities recommended people to stay at home for a period, or the person may have been present at a specific place at a specific time. The condition is not fulfilled if the employer sends the employee home because of lack of orders or chooses to send his employees home because the employer himself is of the opinion that there is a risk of infection.
- It is also a condition that the employee is unable to carry out his work because he/she has to stay at home.
When does the right to a refund become effective?
The right to a refund becomes effective when the first day of absence was 27 February 2020 or later.
Employers who on this date or immediately thereafter had employees who had been sent home and who fulfil the conditions for a refund must therefore also apply as soon as possible, considering the deadline of three weeks for applications.
Claiming a refund
Refunds must be claimed in different ways depending on whether you are an employer or a self-employed person.
- Employers must use the ordinary system, Nemrefusion, when applying for a refund for covid-19, so that the cases can be created automatically with the local authorities.
- When requesting a refund from the first day, the employer must state “other reason” and explain that the reason is covid-19. In this way, it will be possible to use the digital flow for these cases.
- The employee will receive a letter informing him/her of the employer’s request, from which the information stated by the employer will appear. The employee is obliged to inform the local authorities if the employee does not agree with the information given by the employer.
Absence must be reported to the local authorities no later than three weeks after the first day of absence by filling in a form which is handed out by the local authorities. The local authorities may disregard the deadline of three weeks, if:
- because of being hospitalised or being abroad, the self-employed person was unable to report absence in due time, or
- other particularly excusable circumstances mean that absence was not reported on time, or
- the deadline was exceeded because of disturbances with Nemrefusion of an extent and duration which prevented the self-employed person from reporting absence on time.
The deadline cannot be deviated from, however, when the request is made more than six months after the strat of the sickness.
The Act is effective for a limited period of time
As this is a temporary initiative because of covid-19, an expiry clause has been added according to which the temporary rules expire on 1 January 2021.
The right to a refund starts when the first day of absence was 27 February or later.
For days of absence prior to 1 January 2021, the temporary stipulations apply although application was made after expiry of the Act, or if the processing of the application is not completed until after expiry of the Act.