Employees: Q & A about the changes in rules for follow-up of absence due to illness

What do the proposed changes in the Working Environment Act and National Insurance Act regarding follow-up of employees on sick leave entail? Here are answers to 21 questions relating to the content of Proposition 89 L regarding quicker follow-up and sanctioning of breaches of the regulations when employees are ill.

1. What are my most important duties as an employee on sick leave?

Answer: You must cooperate with the employer to find solutions that prevent unnecessary long-term absence due to illness. You have a duty to participate in the facilitation work, i.e. contribute to preparing the follow-up plan and participate in dialogue meetings, and provide information to the employer and NAV regarding your own work capacity. Furthermore, you have a duty to carry out the measures you agree to implement in order for you to return quickly to work.

2. What is my role in the work to prepare the follow-up plan?

Answer: The plan will describe what is required for you to make a full or partial return to work. You must contribute information regarding your work capacity, participate in discussion of possible facilitation measures or other possible solutions to enable you to participate in work-related activities. You and the employer should also discuss whether there is a need for assistance from NAV, the occupational health service or others.

3. What is expected from me in the dialogue meeting?

Answer: You are expected to attend at the agreed time and place as notified by the employer or NAV. The topic of the meeting will be what you can do at the workplace and any possible facilitation measures. You and the employer should review and further develop the follow-up plan. It is important to focus on what work tasks you can perform, and you will be expected to contribute information on your own work capacity.

4. How extensive is the duty to provide information about my own work capacity?

Answer: The dialogue with the employer will cover what work tasks you can perform. Your diagnosis will not be a topic, neither in the dialogue meeting nor in the follow-up plan.

5. What must I expect to perform in the way of other tasks?

Answer: You must primarily be given the opportunity to continue in your regular work, possibly following special facilitation of the work or working hours, changes to work equipment, completed occupational rehabilitation or similar measures. If internal reassignment is necessary, you and the employee representatives must be consulted before a decision is made.

6. Where can I get assistance/guidance?

Answer: The safety delegate and employee representatives are responsible for giving advice and guidance to employees, as well as assisting in the dialogue with the employer and others. Both the safety delegate and employee representatives can participate in conversations regarding follow-up plans and in dialogue meetings if the employee so wishes. Employer and employee organisations can also give advice and guidance on issues that concern rights and duties related to organisation of work, facilitation, integration and follow-up. You can also seek assistance and guidance from the occupational health service, sick-leave certifier and NAV.

7. What are the consequences if I do not participate in the follow-up process?

Answer: Sickness benefits can be stopped if you do not participate in the follow-up process as required. You will receive a reminder of your duty to participate from NAV through a copy of the notice letter to the employer in the event of failure to submit information following the first dialogue meeting. NAV may receive information on your participation in connection with the employer's duty to submit information on the follow-up so far after nine weeks.

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