Sickness in Switzerland Sickness in Switzerland

Sickness in Switzerland
21 Dec 2017

We have a member of staff in Switzerland who has gone off sick after a skiing accident. We haven’t had a situation where someone is off with a ‘self-inflicted’ illness before and I’m getting some odd questions from our health insurance provider. What is the sickness entitlement here and why the interest in the situation?

Unfortunately, as with many things in Switzerland, there are no hard and fast rules for sickness – rules differ according to canton and/or business.

Absence rates due to sickness are fairly low in the country. Illness and accidents are treated differently and funded by deductions from payroll for different social insurance bodies or approved private insurance bodies. For this reason, it may be necessary to provide some quite detailed information about the reason for the absence, and your employee should provide this to you along with any relevant doctor’s certificates. Accidents (depending on the reason) will be covered under UVG insurance. As an employer, you are required by law to take out this insurance for employees who work at least 8 hours a week to cover both work and non-work related accidents. Contributions can be split between the employee and employer. But your employee must notify you without delay when an accident occurs and you, in turn, must notify your insurance company immediately.

Sick leave entitlement depends on the number of years’ service in Switzerland and an employee has to be continuously employed for three months to qualify for payment. There are also three scales (Basel, Bern and Zurich), which determine the amount of allowance per sick day and the number of weeks to be paid. Most companies have an insurance policy that takes precedence over the law, although it must be at least comparable with the legal minimum.

Sick leave insurance (KTG) provides coverage for 730 days in total out of 900 consecutive days. In the first year of employment, employers need to pay between one and three weeks’ sick pay depending on the canton and the scale applied, after which time the amount depends on length of service, canton and other factors. The number of weeks paid increases with length of service, but again by what amount depends on the canton and scale used.

But illness or injury considered to be self-inflicted is unlikely to be paid for as sick leave. This means that days of absence may need to be taken from annual leave and then deducted from salary once it has run out. This scenario could explain why the provider is asking so many questions - they may be trying to ascertain whether the injury was self-inflicted so, for instance, did the employee try to master a slope they weren’t ready for or fail to follow health and safety procedures? It is also important to remember that an employee who has been awarded a medical certificate may not work during the term of that certificate.

If they do, the insurer may reclaim the assigned daily allowance and, in some circumstances, may even press charges. Therefore, it is important that the employee concerned does not work if they have a medical certificate and are being paid a daily allowance by the insurance provider.

 

The Global Payroll Association’s director of education and research, Jeanette Hibbert, explores the complex world of Swiss sickness entitlement.

We have a member of staff in Switzerland who has gone off sick after a skiing accident. We haven’t had a situation where someone is off with a ‘self-inflicted’ illness before and I’m getting some odd questions from our health insurance provider. What is the sickness entitlement here and why the interest in the situation?

Unfortunately, as with many things in Switzerland, there are no hard and fast rules for sickness – rules differ according to canton and/or business.

Absence rates due to sickness are fairly low in the country. Illness and accidents are treated differently and funded by deductions from payroll for different social insurance bodies or approved private insurance bodies. For this reason, it may be necessary to provide some quite detailed information about the reason for the absence, and your employee should provide this to you along with any relevant doctor’s certificates. Accidents (depending on the reason) will be covered under UVG insurance. As an employer, you are required by law to take out this insurance for employees who work at least 8 hours a week to cover both work and non-work related accidents. Contributions can be split between the employee and employer. But your employee must notify you without delay when an accident occurs and you, in turn, must notify your insurance company immediately.

Sick leave entitlement depends on the number of years’ service in Switzerland and an employee has to be continuously employed for three months to qualify for payment. There are also three scales (Basel, Bern and Zurich), which determine the amount of allowance per sick day and the number of weeks to be paid. Most companies have an insurance policy that takes precedence over the law, although it must be at least comparable with the legal minimum.

Sick leave insurance (KTG) provides coverage for 730 days in total out of 900 consecutive days. In the first year of employment, employers need to pay between one and three weeks’ sick pay depending on the canton and the scale applied, after which time the amount depends on length of service, canton and other factors. The number of weeks paid increases with length of service, but again by what amount depends on the canton and scale used.

But illness or injury considered to be self-inflicted is unlikely to be paid for as sick leave. This means that days of absence may need to be taken from annual leave and then deducted from salary once it has run out. This scenario could explain why the provider is asking so many questions - they may be trying to ascertain whether the injury was self-inflicted so, for instance, did the employee try to master a slope they weren’t ready for or fail to follow health and safety procedures? It is also important to remember that an employee who has been awarded a medical certificate may not work during the term of that certificate.

If they do, the insurer may reclaim the assigned daily allowance and, in some circumstances, may even press charges. Therefore, it is important that the employee concerned does not work if they have a medical certificate and are being paid a daily allowance by the insurance provider.

 

The Global Payroll Association’s director of education and research, Jeanette Hibbert, explores the complex world of Swiss sickness entitlement.

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