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Why Cabinet of Ministers wants to save money on sick Ukrainians?

Author : Iryna Shostak

Source : 112 Ukraine

From August 1, 2021, getting sick would be expensive and nervous. The Ministry of Social Policy proposes to significantly redraw the procedure for paying sick leave. Transfer of responsibility to the employer, checking sick leave for "validity", reducing the amount of payments. If the initiative of the Ministry of Social Policy is approved, here is our advice to you right away - stock up on vitamins and keep your head and legs warm. Otherwise you will have to "sit" on sedatives. And it’s not only about employees – it’s going to employers, and even doctors
23:28, 22 April 2021

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"With this bill, the state actually recognizes, firstly, that the Social Accident Insurance Fund is bankrupt. And, secondly, that the state does not fulfill its obligations, and is once again trying to absolve itself of responsibility by getting into the pockets of citizens,"  lawyer Rostyslav Kravets explains the reason for possible innovations.

The fact is that the Social Insurance Fund (FSS) is replenished from the Unified Social Contribution (9.5% of the ERUs are paid to the FSS, and the rest to the Pension Fund). ERUs are paid only by every second able-bodied Ukrainian, and at the same time, of the responsible payers, every third does it with the minimum wage. Since in the context of a pandemic, revenues have significantly decreased, and expenses have increased, the initiative of the Ministry of Social Policy is intended to become a kind of "life jacket" for the FSS.

Today, receipts from ERUs are less than the Fund's expenses, which can become a "bone in the throat" not only for sick workers - apart from sick workers, the Fund also pays maternity payments. So, the FSS desperately needs to find the money. How to do it? According to economic expert Oleg Pendzin in a commentary on 112ua.tv, apply to the Ministry of Finance for a budget loan, and complicate the process of discharging sick leave.

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Step 1. Cutting sick leave

The legislative initiative to optimize the functions of the Social Insurance Fund of Ukraine within the framework of sick leave coverage is proposed to pay 50% of the salary to those who have experience of up to 5 years (previously - up to 3 years), 60% - to employees with an experience of 5 to 10 years (previously - from 3 to 5 years), etc. That is, with an increase in the percentage of salary, the requirement for insurance experience grows unevenly. So, only those who have more than 20 years of experience will be able to apply for 100% of the salary. Today, workers over 8 years of experience can receive such a payment (the requirement for its size is more than doubled).

"With such a pace, I will not be surprised that someday this requirement will grow to 150 years of insurance experience - only you will have such an experience, only then count on 100% coverage of your sick leave. Nonsense. What is the point of paying taxes in this country?" Rostyslav Kravets notes.

According to the expert, such innovations are reasonably outraged, because they are unconstitutional - according to the Basic Law, the adoption of new acts cannot reduce the volume of existing rights and harm Ukrainians.

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Step 2. Complicating the process of getting sick leave

To deal with the deficit, the state sharply complicates the process of discharging sick leave and begins checking the correctness of its issuance. What does it mean? The Social Insurance Fund will personally check the validity of issuing leaves of temporary incapacity for work.

If, in the opinion of the FSS experts, the doctor issued an unjustified sick leave, he himself will compensate the amount of material support in accordance with the procedure established by the Cabinet of Ministers.

“We are already talking about how to look for ways not to write out sick leave. After all, we do not understand what a reasonable and unreasonable doctor means. FSS experts will decide little. Why do we need this unnecessary responsibility?” says Valentyna, a doctor from one of the Kyiv hospitals

And in case of refusal on the groundlessness of the sick leave to prove that the employee was really sick, and it will not work to get his money - the procedure for appealing the decision of the Fund is not provided.

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Moreover, if the work of the enterprise where you work is suspended due to quarantine, you will not see sick leave at all. The logic is this: if you are already at home, then why do you need a sick leave.

Step 3. Shifting responsibility on employers

The procedure becomes more complicated, the amounts become smaller, but the risk that the employee may be left without payment at all is growing. With the adoption of the bill, the financial burden on employers to pay sick leave will increase. They will pay from their own funds for the first 10 days of sick leave (previously, the first 5 days were paid at the expense of employers). And only on the 11th day, the Social Insurance Fund will take responsibility.

"How does this threaten Ukrainians? It's simple: people will be left without sick leave, and employers will begin to restrict the employment of people with chronic diseases," economic expert Oleh Pendzin says.

In addition, the bill absolutely does not regulate such relations between an employer and an employee in a private enterprise. Indeed, if the "letter of the law" plays a role in the state, then in private enterprises, where issues are often resolved informally, experts are sure that employers and employees will deviate from the procedure.

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Perhaps the only worthy innovation with sick leave is associated with their digitalization. Although doctors complain that they spend a lot of time entering information into the system, the safety of patient data remains questionable.

What do we end up with? A blow to the social protection of people and a decrease in the motivation to pay taxes. Indeed, instead of dealing with the issues of the shadow economy (which we have about 40%) and thus solving the problem of the FSS deficit, the volume of payments is reduced and the responsibility is shifted to employers.

"Such bills undermine confidence in the government and in the payment of taxes. What do I get as a responsible taxpayer? Will I have to challenge the amount of my pension in court, prove my insurance record? Who needs it?" Kravets undelines.

 

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