Sick leave drops by 21% in 2020 despite COVID-19 pandemic

Despite COVID-19 medical certificates in 2020 went down by 28,322 when compared to the previous year

Medical certificates in 2020 went down by 28,322 when compared to the previous year.

Statistics provided by the Department of Social Security show 103,529 medical certificates were filed by workers during the pandemic year.

131,851 sick leave certificates were submitted in 2019. But a decrease in sick leave certification was being registered on a yearly basis with 163,159 in 2018 and 228,300 in 2017.

Social security expenditure on sick leave in 2020 stood at €5,369,544, down by €126,089 from 2019.

In 2019, expenditure totalled €5,495,632, actually increasing by €78,718 from 2018 (€5,416,915). Spending on sick leave was the highest in 2017 at €5,917,600.

In 2020, medical certificates which did not exceed four days totalled 22,642, down from 28,884 in 2019.

2017 and 2018 saw the submission of 84,241 and 38,136 medical certificates for less than four days.

It is important to note that in March 2018 simplification measures were introduced so that employers do not need to forward medical certificates to the Department of Social Security since it does not pay the sickness benefit in such instances.

However, the copy of said medical certificate still needs to be forwarded to employer.

Open certificates, meaning medical certification which does not have a return-to-work date, dropped by 3,660, from 16,483 in 2019 to 12,823 in 2020. 18,501 open certificates were submitted in 2017, and 18,677 in 2018.

In 2019, the period of a medical certificate was extended from seven days to 14 days.