August 10th, 2012

Number of Hungarians on sick leave drops by third in six years

The number of Hungarians taking sick leave dropped by a third in six years for fear of less income and job loss, business daily Vilaggazdasag said on Friday.

According to the paper, currently only those take sick leave who are indeed unable to fulfil their duties due to an illness.

Figures of the national health insurance fund show that the number of employees taking sick leave dropped from 1.2 million in 2005 to 897,000 in 2011 and the number of days employees spent on sick leave dropped from over 37 million in 2005 to 22,5 million in 2011.

There were average 62,000 people on sick leave daily last year, as against more than 102,000 in 2005, the paper said.

Vilaggazdasag noted that the fewer people take sick leave, the less money they cost to the state as well to the employer, the latter being responsible for paying 24 percent of sickness benefits.

Part of the reason behind the decreasing trend is that regulations on sickness benefits have been gradually tightened in recent years, the paper said. Last year sickness benefits were reduced from 70 percent of average daily income to 60 percent (and in the case of hospital treatment from 60 percent to 50 percent), maximised at 5,200 forints (EUR 18) a day, which also encourages employees to return to work as soon as possible, the paper added.

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  • Focus on the bigger picture

    Well, imagine that?

  • JD

    Unfortunately, sick leave in Hungary is often treated as just another tool for the average Hungarian employee to game the system.

  • Anon

    A friend knew she was about to get fired – the big boss had come from Vienna or whereever, and for whatever reason she knew she was the one who was going to get the chop. So, as soon as she saw the big boss, said she felt very sick, went to the doctor, got a medical certificate, and couldn’t be fired. For three months she was sick, until she found another job. Then went to her old job, feeling better, where they indeed promptly fired her.

  • Curious George

    Aren’t doctors in Hungary accomplit in this whole scheme? Why not have independent verification by another doctor if sick leave exceeds a certain period. There is indeed something seriously wrong which needs a second opinion, if a healthy individual suddenly becomes sick for 3 months.

  • JD

    Progress of people in Hungary is thwarted at every turn by the bureaucratic nightmare. This leads to two things

    1. Gaming the system get somewhere

    2. Illness become just another bureaucratic process, if the doctor says your sick then you are sick. Doctor’s will say your sick as it is just another box ticking formality because EVERY day off sick has to be authorised by a doctor.

    In the UK, for short illnesses (7 days) you self certify. You go to the doctor when you need medical help, not a bureaucratic sick note.

    There are always people taking advantage of this even in the UK but in Hungary it is common practise.

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