In May 2020 a bill was passed to provide sickness benefits to employees who are:
- at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19; or
- the relative of a person who is at a higher risk.
The bill applied to employees if a number of conditions were met. The temporary scheme ran until 31 August 2020.(1) Parliament has now passed a new bill which, among other things, extends this scheme until 31 December 2020.
With the adoption of the bill, covered employees' right to sickness benefits and employers' right to sickness benefit reimbursement (if they pay a salary to covered employees) have been extended until 31 December 2020. Back payment of sickness benefits and sickness benefit reimbursement for the period 1 September 2020 and until the entry into force of the act can therefore be made. It appears from the comments on the bill that employees who are already covered by the temporary scheme will not have to reapply for sickness benefits for the extended period.
In addition, it has been decided that employees who are covered by the temporary scheme, but who become ill and therefore become subject to the general sickness benefit rules, will be entitled to sickness benefits, regardless of whether they have reached the point in time when their entitlement would be reassessed.
A 5 August 2020 executive order also provided for the possibility for employees covered by the temporary scheme to receive sickness benefits at the same time as taking part in training subject to agreement with their employer. It appears from the comments on the bill that this option will also be extended until 31 December 2020.
(1) For further information please see "Coronavirus – bill on entitlement to sickness benefits for employees at higher risk enacted".