Until 1 July 2007, an employer was obliged under the National Insurance Act to initiate a rehabilitation investigation if i) an employee had been absent due to sickness for more than four consecutive weeks, ii) the work of an employee was frequently interrupted by shorter sickness periods, or iii) the employee required such investigation. The rehabilitation investigation was to be submitted to the social insurance agency within a specified time frame.
The new legislation means that an employer is no longer obliged to initiate and perform a rehabilitation investigation; this obligation has been transferred to the social insurance agency (“SIA”). However, employers do still have an obligation, after consultation with the employee, to provide the SIA with the information necessary in order for the SIA to elucidate the specific needs for rehabilitation. The employer is obliged to cooperate with the SIA in this regard.
Effect on employers
In contrast to the former position employers no longer automatically have to send specific information to the SIA within a certain time frame. However, the SIA may choose to make a request for specific information from the employer and the employee. It should be emphasised that the obligation for the employer to take measures necessary in order to secure an effective rehabilitation for the employee remains unchanged.