Czech Lower House


Babis, Ministers To Discuss Sick Pay

Andrej Babiš

Prague, Sept 10 (CTK) – Czech PM Andrej Babis (ANO), Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jana Malacova and Deputy PM Jan Hamacek (both Social Democrats, CSSD) will discuss the proposal for the re-introduction of sick pay during the first three days of illness this week again, they told reporters today.


The politicians are to meet in the Chamber of Deputies during its September session starting on Tuesday. The date of the talks has not been set yet, Malacova and Babis said.


Malacova said she expected Babis to support the proposal.


Babis, for his part, said he would demand information about the preparation of electronic sick notes, which was the employers’ condition for the introduction of payments during the first three sick days.


The junior government CSSD is pushing for this measure in the government.


The cabinet of ANO and the CSSD pledged in its government policy statement to re-introduce the payment of 60 percent of base pay during the first three days of illness.


Some ANO deputies stood up against this measure in the lower house economy committee last week.


Babis told reporters today that he did not question the plan. ANO signed an agreement with the CSSD and must keep it, he added.


“This is a key issue for the CSSD and one of the reasons why we entered the government,” Malacova said.


Babis said he would like to learn at the meeting how the Labour Ministry was prepared for the introduction of sick pay during the first three days and how a part of electronic sick notes would work in practice.


Though the policy statement does not mention e-sick notes, the coalition parties have agreed on them, Babis said.


Employers protest against the re-introduction of a compensation payment during the first three days of illness. They warn that this would lead to a rise in sickness rate and a possible abuse of sick pay.


Trade unions, on the contrary, have long supported the measure.


E-sick notes were to be introduced in the Czech Republic as of next year, but their issuing would not be obligatory. However, Babis’s first one-colour government abolished this bill in June.


The cabinet decided to draft a new version to take effect in 2021. In July, the Labour Ministry submitted an amendment on health insurance under which doctors would have to fill in a part of sick notes electronically and send them to the Czech Social Authority (CSSZ) as of mid-2019.


Doctors have been able to send electronic sick notes to the the CSSZ via a special terminal since 2010. According to the CSSZ data, up to 4 percent of doctors (1078) did so in March.