Long-term sickness absence
Obligations and options concerning long-term sickness absence according to the Danish legislation and AAU policies are currently being reviewed
Published: 22.01.2018 (Last revised: 12.09.2022)Print as pdf
- Fast track
- Fit for work certificate and medical statement of incapacity for work
- Sickness absence interview - following up on sickness absence
- Retention and action plan
- Employer period and reimbursement to AAU from the municipal authorities
- Holidays during a sickness period
- Cooperation with the municipal authorities
- Follow-up without contact to the municipal authorithies
- Time-limited sickness benefit period
All inquiries to the HR Department about fast track, requests for medical statement of incapacity for work, sick pay reimbursement, etc. must be made to the HR service centres: Hremail@example.com
The following options and obligations apply to all AAU staff members and require the individual member of staff and their line manager to have a dialogue in order to make any such agreement. This dialogue must be in accordance with the Scheme of Delegation.
If it is obvious to the employee and their line manager at the beginning of a sickness absence period that this will be of a duration of more than eight weeks, and that the employee’s return to Aalborg University may require extraordinary measures to be taken, a so-called fast track scheme may be requested. In a fast track scheme, cooperation with the municipal authorities as regards work retention will begin at an early stage.
Documentation required for the fast track scheme
The employee or their line manager must submit a request for a fast track scheme to the HR Department. The request must specify the following: The work functions affected by the sickness; the length of the period during which work functions have been affected by the sickness; any measures taken to adapt the work tasks to the employee’s functional limitations.
A fast track scheme involves early follow-up measures and cooperation with the municipal authorities and will only be granted if this is acceptable to the employee.
Fit for work statement
If a line manager is in doubt as to which work functions the staff member will be able to perform after a sickness absence period then the line manager may request a fit for work statement.
The fit for work statement includes the doctor’s assessment as to whether the staff member will be able to undertake relevant and stated work functions in the future without causing their health condition to worsen. The aim is to retain staff members in their employment at Aalborg University.
Documentation required when applying a fit for work certificate
The staff member and their line manager will complete Part 1 of the fit for work statement together. They may do so at a meeting or over the telephone. In Part 1, they must state the actual functional limitations, work functions affected, and any protective and supportive measures (changes in work tasks, work from home, colleague assistance or management initiatives etc.).
When Part 1 has been completed, the staff member must submit this to their doctor. The doctor then completes Part 2, based on Part 1 and a consultation with the staff member.
Fit for work statement in the HR website.
MEDICAL STATEMENT OF INCAPACITY FOR WORK
The line manager is entitled to request a medical statement of incapacity for work on the first day of absence. This statement documents that a staff member’s sickness absence is justified by illness; the expected duration of an illness may be indicated in the statement.
The medical statement of incapacity for work can be found on the HR department's website.
The dialogue between the line manager and the staff member is important for successful retention; it is thus recommended that you familiarise yourself with examples from the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (in Danish only) on when a fit for work statement and medical statement of incapacity for work are applicable.
Sickness absence interview - following up on sickness absence
Under Danish legislation, Aalborg University is obliged to call the employee in for a sickness absence interview and to conduct this no later than four weeks after the first sick day. This applies in the case of both full-time and part-time sickness absence. Exemption from this rule will only be made for employees who have been notified of the discontinuation of their employment and who will vacate their position within eight weeks of their first sick day.
Follow-up measures taken by the line manager
In accordance with the rules on sickness absence management at AAU, the line manger must contact an employee who is absent due to sickness:
- after 14 consecutive days of sickness absence
- in case of frequent sickness absence periods (five instances in a 12-month period)
- in case of a large number of consecutive sickness absence days (more than 30 days in total)
- in case of frequent absence due to a child’s first and second sick days (five instances within a 12-month period)
- in case of atypical absence patterns (e.g. certain weekdays or dates).
After 14 consecutive days of absence, the line manger must, as a minimum, call the employee for a clarifying telephone conversation. If the employee does not expect to resume work on a full-time basis within the next week, the line manager must call the employee in for a sickness absence interview.
The line manager is responsible for calling and conducting the sickness absence interview. The line manager can choose to invite a representative from the HR Department to attend the interview. Template example for the interview call letter is available on the HR Department’s website.
The employee should always be invited to bring a companion to the interview.
Any interview call letters forwarded to an employee must include reasonable notice (seven days). This applies to interviews concerning sickness absence, completion of fit for work statement etc.
Pursuant to Danish legislation (Persondataloven), notes must always be taken when a sickness absence interview is conducted. This means that interview contents and any agreements made must be minuted. Template example for a retention and action plan is available on the HR Department’s website.
The minutes will include information on functional limitations, protective and supportive measures, work conditions and possibility of work resumption.
How and when must the employee participate
In accordance with the guidelines in force, an employee on long-term sickness absence is expected to enter into active dialogue with their line manager and to attend a sickness absence interview.
The employee is also obliged to comply with Danish legislation in force. Further information on this is available in the section Employer period and reimbursement to the AAU from the municipal authorities.
Retention and action plan
A retention and action plan is a written agreement prepared jointly by the line manager and the employee, usually in connection with a sickness absence interview. The plan may contain a description of workplace design or modification of work tasks. It is essential that the plan is concrete and action oriented.
When is the time to prepare an action plan
When an employee is expected to be absent due to sickness for more than eight weeks from their first sick day, they can request that a written retention plan is prepared; this must include agreements as to how the employee may return to work as soon as possible on a full-time or part-time basis.
The line manager is not obliged to prepare a retention and action plan. The line manager must comply with their obligation to take notes and, as a minimum, to take minutes of an interview that has been conducted.
Template example for a retention and action plan is available on the HR Department’s website.
Employer period and reimbursement to the AAU from the municipal authorities
When Aalborg University pays salary to an employee during a long-term sickness absence period, and the employee is entitled to sickness benefit payment from the municipal authorities, the University is entitled to reimbursement of sickness benefit after an employer period of 30 calendar days.
The individual place of work will receive the reimbursement. Please be aware that the entitlement to reimbursement is a derived right, which means the employee must fulfil the conditions for receiving sick pay in order for Aalborg University to receive reimbursement.
Documentation required from Aalborg University
The HR Department must report the sickness absence to the municipal authorities through ‘Nemrefusion’ (Easy reimbursement). Our system reports long-term sickness absence on the 32nd sick day, which ensures compliance with the deadlines set by legislation in the field.
Sickness absence of flex-job employees must be reported on their first sick day.
Sickness absence covered by a section 56 agreement must be reported no later than five weeks after the first sick day. We receive reimbursement from the first sick day. More information on section 56 agreements is available in Sickness absence - agreement in case of chronic or long-term sickness.
Documentation required from the employee
When sickness absence has been reported to the municipal authorities through ‘Nemrefusion’, the employee is obliged at all times to comply with agreements made with the municipal authorities and with the legislation in force. Initially, the employee on sick leave must check and attend to any mail sent to their e-box or to their digital mailbox at borger.dk.
In their first contact to the employee on sick leave, the municipal authorities will forward forms which must be completed by the employee and returned to the authorities within eight days. As of 1 December 2015, these forms can only be returned electronically, using NemID.
The employee's entitlement to sickness benefit, and consequently AAU’s entitlement to reimbursement, depends on correct and punctual submission. If an employee does not return a form or at a later stage during the sickness absence period fails to participate in follow-up procedures, sickness benefits and reimbursement for AAU will be discontinued. If the employee resumes participation in the municipal follow-up procedures within fours weeks or makes sure the form(s) is(are) completed, they may be re-entitled to sickness benefit from the day following the day they notified the municipal authorities of this. This right of revocation may only be exercised once.
Employees, including managers, may contact the municipal authorities or the HR Department for further information.
Holidays during a sickness period
It is not compatible with current legislation to take holidays during a period of long-term sickness absence. As a general rule, staff members on sickness absence may not take planned and pre-arranged holidays during a long-term sick absence. A staff member’s own illness prevents them from taking holiday.
What to do
If a staff member wishes to take holiday during a period of long-term sickness absence, the staff member has the option of rescheduling the holiday in agreement with their line manager. The dialogue between line manager and staff member takes into account whether the new holiday scheduling is compatible with the sickness absence.
The staff member who is prevented from taking holiday is not obligated to take their planned holiday. Similarly, the line manager may oppose a staff member's wish to take planned holiday during a long-term sickness absence if it is not compatible with the agreements made in relation to the sickness absence.
Once the staff member and line manager are in agreement, the municipality is involved. The holiday may only be taken if a similar agreement is made with the municipality. The municipality may refuse to enter into an agreement if it is not compatible with the sickness absence.
If the employee fails to involve and agree with the municipality then taking holiday is considered a return to work, and this may have consequences for the payment of sickness benefits, including the reimbursement to AAU.
Any questions regarding the above may be directed to the HR Department.
Cooperation with the municipal authorities
Pursuant to the legislation in force, the municipal authorities are obliged to cooperate with the employee (employees on sick leave) on work place related measures to be taken to support the employee’s gradual return to their work at Aalborg University.
Who does what
The initiative to cooperate with the municipal authorities may be taken by the employee, the municipal authorities or by the line manager of the employee. Cooperation will ensure a coordinated effort, providing the employee with good conditions as regards retention, prevention and rapid clarification.
Any queries concerning contact to the municipal authorities may be directed to the HR Department.
Follow-up without contact to the municipal authorities (Standby)
The municipal authorities must follow up and make contact to an employee on sickness absence leave. The employee is obliged to cooperate in the follow-up action. The follow-up action may take place in three ways. As a main rule, the employee will be invited for an individual interview at the job centre. Two alternatives also exist: Contact may be made to the employee by telephone, by email or by letter; or no contact is made to the employee during the follow-up action. In the latter case, it is a precondition that the employee is critically ill and contact is not appropriate (Standby scheme).
Who does what
The employee themselves must inform the municipal authorities that they wishes to be covered by the standby scheme. The municipal authorities will estimate if the employee is eligible for the standby scheme.
Time-limited sickness benefit period
The legislation in force (sygedagpengeloven) defines a time limit. This means that an employee on sick leave who meets the requirements concerning qualifying period of employment and is unfit for work is entitled to sickness benefit for 22 weeks within a period of 9 consecutive calendar months (to which may be added the employer period of 30 days).
When this period has expired, the municipal authorities will assess the possibility of extending the sickness payment period. If extension is not possible, and the employee is still considered incapacitated, the municipal authorities will refer the employee for a job assessment process. During the job assessment process, the employee receives resource course benefit , which is lower than the sickness benefit
How will AAU be informed
The municipal authorities are obliged to examine the individual case prior to making their decision regarding extension or job assessment.
Once they have done so and intend to make a decision, they will invite the employee and AAU represented by the HR Department for their comments as parties to the case.
Employees are also obliged to inform the AAU of any circumstances which might result in discontinuation of sickness benefit reimbursement.
Purpose and delimitation
The following describes obligations and options concerning long-term sickness absence according to the Danish legislation and AAU policies. The following options and obligations apply to all AAU staff members and require the individual member of staff and their line manager to have a dialogue in order to make any such agreement.
The area is regulated by following Danish legislation:
Sygedagpengeloven (Danish Sickness Benefit Act)
Offentlighedsloven (Danish Public Records Act)
Persondataloven (The Danish Act on Processing of Personal Data)
Contact your Department or the HR Department for further information.
Sickness absence - from reporting sick to reporting fit for work (All departments and/or sections)