Can an employer see the reason for an employee’s sick leave and check what illness caused the absence? We explain what exactly the document issued by the doctor informs the employer.
Sick leave, also called L4, is a document that specifies the employee’s inability to work for a specific period of time. Currently, sick leave is issued only in electronic form – the employee no longer has to submit it to the employer in person. Although this form is much more convenient than the previous one, it may cause some concern among people on sick leave. Why? This is due to the fact that in such a situation we are not fully aware of what exactly the employer sees on our L4. We explain what information our boss then has access to.
Does the employer see the reason for sick leave?
Many people wonder what the employer sees on the document issued by the doctor. Sometimes employees are afraid that getting sick leave, for example from a psychiatrist, may affect their relationship with the employer. Sometimes, for other reasons, we do not want the employer to know exactly what disease we have and we have every right to such privacy. Please remember that on sick leave, the employer will not see the name of the disease – i.e. the specific and exact reason for the employee’s stay on L4. The reason for the dismissal is not provided on the document sent to the employer.
Therefore, the employer does not know the statistical number of the employee’s illness. Pursuant to the regulations that entered into force on July 21, 2019, L4 cannot contain any detailed data regarding the reason for dismissal, including the statistical number of the disease.
What does the employer see on the employee’s L4?
However, sick leave has special letter codes that specify the reason for incapacity for work. They are visible because they are the basis for determining the amount of sickness benefit. The codes on the electronic sick leave are:
Code A – incapacity for work occurred after a break not exceeding 60 days, caused by the same disease that was the cause of incapacity for work before the break;
Code B – inability to work during pregnancy;
Code C – inability to work caused by alcohol abuse;
Code D – incapacity for work caused by tuberculosis;
Code E – incapacity for work caused by an infectious disease whose incubation period is longer than 14 days, or another disease whose symptoms appear after a period longer than 14 days from the onset of the disease.
Even though the employer can see such a letter code, he or she will not learn the exact reason that caused the employee’s absence. The employee may submit a written request for the doctor not to enter code B or D on the sick leave. In other cases, it is decided by the doctor, so the employee has no influence on keeping his or her health condition confidential if the illness concerns, for example, an infectious disease or is caused by alcohol abuse.
Can an employer demand the reason for sick leave?
The employer cannot demand that the employee provide detailed information about his or her health, for example the reason for sick leave. However, the employee must remember that in the event of incapacity for work due to illness, he is obliged to inform the employer about this and the expected duration of such sick leave. This should be done no later than the second day of absence from work.