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HR Legal

Sick leave in the Nordics

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Legal news
calendar 28 January 2024
globus Norway, Denmark, Sweden

The season of winter is here with all its wonder and challenges. One of the challenges is employees being sick more often than during other seasons. Sick leave can be tricky to navigate and can be even trickier when it becomes long-term or frequent. The rules on sick leave have nuances across the Nordics that companies must be aware of to avoid making the work environment colder than the Nordic Winter.

There are no rules on how or when employees should notify companies of their sick leave. However, employees must notify their company as soon as possible. Companies can decide more in-depth on how and when they should be notified through policies or employee handbooks.

Handling sick leave in practice

Companies are obligated to compensate an employee on sick leave, but for how long and how much depends on the country. In Denmark, companies must pay salaried employees their full salary during the entire sick leave. In Sweden, companies must pay sick pay corresponding to 80% of the salary during the first 14 calendar days of the sick leave. In Norway, companies must pay full salary capped at six times the national basic amount for the first 16 calendar days of each sick leave.

It differs when companies can ask for medical certificates in the Nordics. In Denmark, the company can require a certificate at any given time. In Sweden, the company is not obligated to pay sick pay after seven days of sickness unless the employee can present a certificate from day eight. In Norway, companies can demand a certificate on day four of the sick leave.

If the employee is often sick, companies may use medical certificates to confirm the sickness. In Sweden, companies can ask for a certificate earlier than day eight if there is a special reason. In Norway, companies can revoke the right to self-declared sickness when suspecting that the right is being misused.

Sickness is generally a lawful absence and not reason for termination. Companies may have a far-reaching duty to accommodate and rehabilitate. In Norway, companies may first terminate an employee after their first year on sick leave. In Denmark, companies may terminate after 120 days of sick leave if agreed. In Sweden, companies may terminate when the employee has been granted full sickness compensation.

IUNO’s opinion

Approaching sickness can be difficult both when it comes to the reduced capacity and the company’s obligations to the employee. Companies should always ask to see a doctor's certificate if the sick leave becomes longer or more frequent to understand what reasonably can be expected from the company.

IUNO recommends companies to be aware of how many resources go to cover the absent employee’s workload, including the days of sick leave. This combined with how much the work capacity has reduced since the employee went on sick leave, may be enough to terminate the employee if needed.

This newsletter is part of a series of newsletters explaining restructuring and dismissals in the Nordics. You can read about redundancies here, misconduct here, underperformance here, and changing employment terms, here.

There are no rules on how or when employees should notify companies of their sick leave. However, employees must notify their company as soon as possible. Companies can decide more in-depth on how and when they should be notified through policies or employee handbooks.

Handling sick leave in practice

Companies are obligated to compensate an employee on sick leave, but for how long and how much depends on the country. In Denmark, companies must pay salaried employees their full salary during the entire sick leave. In Sweden, companies must pay sick pay corresponding to 80% of the salary during the first 14 calendar days of the sick leave. In Norway, companies must pay full salary capped at six times the national basic amount for the first 16 calendar days of each sick leave.

It differs when companies can ask for medical certificates in the Nordics. In Denmark, the company can require a certificate at any given time. In Sweden, the company is not obligated to pay sick pay after seven days of sickness unless the employee can present a certificate from day eight. In Norway, companies can demand a certificate on day four of the sick leave.

If the employee is often sick, companies may use medical certificates to confirm the sickness. In Sweden, companies can ask for a certificate earlier than day eight if there is a special reason. In Norway, companies can revoke the right to self-declared sickness when suspecting that the right is being misused.

Sickness is generally a lawful absence and not reason for termination. Companies may have a far-reaching duty to accommodate and rehabilitate. In Norway, companies may first terminate an employee after their first year on sick leave. In Denmark, companies may terminate after 120 days of sick leave if agreed. In Sweden, companies may terminate when the employee has been granted full sickness compensation.

IUNO’s opinion

Approaching sickness can be difficult both when it comes to the reduced capacity and the company’s obligations to the employee. Companies should always ask to see a doctor's certificate if the sick leave becomes longer or more frequent to understand what reasonably can be expected from the company.

IUNO recommends companies to be aware of how many resources go to cover the absent employee’s workload, including the days of sick leave. This combined with how much the work capacity has reduced since the employee went on sick leave, may be enough to terminate the employee if needed.

This newsletter is part of a series of newsletters explaining restructuring and dismissals in the Nordics. You can read about redundancies here, misconduct here, underperformance here, and changing employment terms, here.

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Anders

Etgen Reitz

Partner

Søren

Hessellund Klausen

Partner

Kirsten

Astrup

Managing associate (on leave)

Sofie

Aurora Braut Bache

Managing associate

Cecillie

Groth Henriksen

Senior associate

Johan

Gustav Dein

Associate

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The team

Alexandra

Jensen

Legal advisor

Anders

Etgen Reitz

Partner

Caroline

Thorsen

Junior legal assistant

Cecillie

Groth Henriksen

Senior associate

Johan

Gustav Dein

Associate

Julie

Meyer

Senior legal assistant

Kirsten

Astrup

Managing associate (on leave)

Maria

Kjærsgaard Juhl

Legal advisor

Rikke

Grønlund Holm

Senior associate

Sofie

Aurora Braut Bache

Managing associate

Søren

Hessellund Klausen

Partner