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DN Debate. Before the penalties against employers who fail rehabilitation

Now it has gone a half year ago the Swedish employers had a greater responsibility for the rehabilitation of the sick. The amendment, which entered into force on July 1, 2018, employers establish plans for return to work for employees who are at risk to become long-term sick leave. The plan shall be drawn up within 30 days from the first sick leave and the purpose of the amendment was to clarify the employer's responsibility for rehabilitation.

Sweden has continuing problems with sickness absence. Despite the Agency's stricter assessment and more rejection when applying for sickness benefits, as has the number of cases of illness in the last five years has increased significantly and amounted during the 2017 to 594 000. A further problem, which in many ways is greater than the number of started cases of sickness, is that so many illnesses are becoming so long. Of all of the 170 000 cases of illness that are going on today has 68 000 lasted longer than a year. Apart from a few record around the change of millennium, so has the proportion of long-term illnesses has never been greater than now. In order to reduce the number of long cases of sickness requires a well-functioning system for the rehabilitation and return to work.

around rehabilitation and return to work, was formulated originally in the context of rehabiliteringsreformen 1992. It was then that the concept of vocational rehabilitation for the first time introduced in the social security and social Insurance was an extensive and overall responsibility for the investigation, planning and coordination of rehabilitation. At the same time, the employer is primarily responsible, which meant that the employer would ”respond to the measures needed for effective rehabilitation.” A problem with the formulated text of the act, and which has been highlighted in a series of investigations and reports since the 1992 reform, is that the division of responsibilities between the employer and the health Insurance fund is unclear. Many employers are experiencing uncertainty about what is included in their responsibility and what is included in the Insurance. Against this background, it is positive with a change in the law which aims to clarify the employer's responsibility for rehabilitation. However, the question is if the changes in the law have the desired effect.

to get a clearer allocation of responsibility between the employer and the social Insurance, should at the same time increasing the employer's responsibility, also reduce the responsibility of the agency.

For the first, it reminds a new requirement on plan for return to work to a high degree on the previous statutory requirement of rehabiliteringsutredningar, which meant that the employer after four weeks of sick leave would establish an investigation over the sjukskrivnes need of rehabilitation. The law was introduced in connection with the rehabiliteringsreformen 1992 and was removed in 2007, and then mainly on the grounds that only few investigations were established and that they have established in the rule came too late and was of poor quality. There is a risk that less scrupulous employers ' handling of the statutory plans for return to work will be like the previous rehabiliteringsutredningarna. Then, as now, is missing the real penalties against employers who ignore what the law says.

secondly, it is questionable whether the requirement to plan for the return to work leads to a clearer division of responsibilities between the employer and the social Insurance. Much talk to the contrary. In connection with the introduction of the new requirement on employers to draw up plans for return to work, submitted namely the Agency's responsibility for rehabilitation is unchanged, and which included, inter alia, that, in the case where rehabilitative measures are needed, establish a plan for rehabilitation, and with the concept of rehabilitation refers to measures aimed at to the person on sick leave to come again in work (social code chapter 29, section. 2§). With the new amendment to the legislation is thus both the employer and the social Insurance required to draw up plans for return to work. What plan is it then? What plan should you follow?

which entered into force in the summer stated that the employer's plan for the return to work mainly concerns measures that can be taken at the employee's place of work, but in practice, deals with the rehabilitation plan which Försäkringskassan is required to establish also almost always arbetsplatsnära measures. Of the cases where the social Insurance establishes rehabiliteringsplaner so is the rehabilitative action in more than 90% of cases, job training, and then usually with regular employer and in ordinary employment. We speak thus almost always on the in-service rehabilitation, regardless of whether it falls under the employer's or the Insurance plan. So who should plan the rehabilitation in the workplace? The employer or the social Insurance office?

the Knowledge is in the day good regarding the factors that facilitate respectively hinder return to work after sick leave. There is strong evidence that the workplace and its stakeholders have a central role, and that the manager's attitude and actions in many cases are crucial.

which entered into force on the first of July is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough. In order to achieve the intended effect, one should go a step further. Many employers today have a professional and well-functioning rehabilitation, and want to get at those who misbehave there must be real opportunities for the sanction, something that today is missing. The knowledge that the Swedish work environment authority can come to inspect is not enough. And in order to obtain a clearer division of responsibilities between the employer and the social Insurance, should at the same time increasing the employer's responsibility, also reduce the responsibility of the agency. Let the Insurance keep the responsibility for the coordination, but let the Insurance avoid a liability for the investigation and planning of rehabilitation. If the purpose of the amendments from 1 July was to create a clearer framework so should such a responsibility be only on the employer.

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