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New sick-leave rules spark concern among businesses

  • 2004-08-12
  • By The Baltic Times
TALLINN - The plan by Social Affairs Minister Marko Pomerants to make the employer pay for employees? maximum two-week sick-leave may lead to massive layoffs, business experts said on Wednesday.

Even though the reform plans to cut the healthcare tax obligatory for employers from 13 percent to 12 percent, the new system would amount to massive expenses for large companies in the so-called sick periods during the calendar year ? i.e., spring and autumn.
According to tax and business experts, the proposed system would increase Estonian employers? expenses, which are already at 36 percent and one of the highest in the region.
Also, the proposed system may lead to more cases of discrimination during employment talks, as employers will prefer healthy workers and workers without children.
Under the current legislation, employer pays 80 percent of the worker?s salary if he or she is on sick-leave. In Pomerants? opinion, the new system would make the employers care more about their workers? health, invest more into healthy work environment and actually control whether their worker is sick or not.