As of December 1, 2018, electronic medical notes will become the only available solution for sick leave certification, and paper forms (known as ZUS ZLA) will generally no longer be issued. Electronic sick leave notes have been in operation since January 1, 2016, and have been used by many since then. However, it is only until the end of November 2018 when doctors can choose to issue an electronic medical note, which is not mandatory just yet, or a traditional note (ZUS ZLA).

Initially, the electronic sick leave notes were to become mandatory by July 1, 2018. However, this will happen five months later due to delays in preparation by doctors and medical establishments, who had to ensure their IT is ready prior to day one.

How does it work?

In order to issue an electronic sick leave note, the doctor will need to set up a profile on the Electronic Services Platform of the Social Insurance Institution (PUE ZUS); notes can be issued through the platform, or an integrated mobile device app. Sick note can be issued during both clinic appointment or home visit. The patient is no longer required to provide the employer with a hard copy of the sick note or remember employer’s NIP number.

In practical terms, as soon as the doctor puts patient’s PESEL number into the platform, most of the patient’s personal data will be automatically completed by the system, including:

– patient’s address

– details of the employer(s)

– suggested letter code and the statistical number of the illness.

The doctor just needs to verify the details with the patient, and specify when the patient is unfit for work.

E-ZLA is immediately registered in the ZUS database and sent to employers via the PUE ZUS platform. Employers receives information on the medical note shortly after and can check details online.

Exceptions apply to small employers (employing up to five individuals), who are not required to have a PUE profile. If such a profile has not been created, the doctor must print the electronic note; the patient then delivers the print out to the employer on the same terms as the paper sick note currently, that is within seven days from the date of its issuance.

Verification of electronic sick notes by employers

Full implementation of the e-ZLA system will make it easier for employers to verify correctness of the sick leave use, and identify abuse. Currently, the Social Security Institution typically checks on longer sick notes and fails to detect most non-compliances. With an electronic sick leave note in hand, employers may audit the compliant use of sick leave as soon as the e-ZLA has been issued.

OUR TIP FOR EMPLOYEES

Make sure that your personal details, as indicated on the sick note, are correct and up to date, and the address provided is the place of your stay while on sick leave.

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