Employment and pensions

Spain removes the obligation to submit sick leave reports to the company

Published on 27th Apr 2023

Changes aim to improve the social protection of employees and guarantee adequate health care and economic benefits in the event of illness or accident at work

Doctor looking at an x-ray on a screen

From the 1 April 2023, employees temporarily unable to work are no longer be obliged to provide the company with a sick leave medical report. This measure will affect the processes of temporary disability that are in progress as long as they have not exceeded 365 days of duration. The new regulation simplifies and speeds up administrative procedures for employees, although it does not exempt the worker from the obligation to inform the company of his or her medical leave.

Modifications in the Temporary Incapacity Process

Before the entry into force of this regulation, the physician provided the employee, in addition to the medical report, with a copy of the medical reports of sick leave, confirmation and medical discharge to be submitted, within a certain period of time, to the company, which, in turn, had to fill in certain data required in the reports and send them to the managing entity.

Under the new regulations, the professional who issues the medical report will give a copy to the employee, but it will be the public health service or, as the case may be, the mutual insurance company or the collaborating company that will send the data contained in the medical reports to the National Institute of Social Security by telematic means. The transmission of data must be carried out immediately and, in any case, on the first working day following the day of issue.

Likewise, the National Institute of Social Security will communicate to the companies the identifying data of a purely administrative nature relating to the medical reports of sick leave, confirmation and discharge issued by the physicians of the public health service or of the mutual insurance company, referring to their employees, "at the latest on the first working day following the day of their receipt".

Telematic communication between companies and Social Security

Companies will be obliged to transmit to the National Institute of Social Security, through the Electronic Data Remission System, immediately and, in any case, within a maximum period of three working days from the receipt of the notification of the medical leave, the data determined by ministerial order. Failure to comply with this obligation may constitute, as the case may be, a minor infraction of those contemplated in the Law on Infractions and Sanctions in the Social Order, punishable, in this case, with a fine of 70 to 750 euros.

The medical staff may set medical review periods shorter than those indicated depending on the evolution of the temporary incapacity process. Therefore, it is recommended that employees undergo the necessary medical check-ups to ensure their prompt recovery and the completion of the medical leave process.

Mutual insurance developments

Mutual insurance companies cannot issue sick leave or medical discharges in the process of temporary incapacity due to common illness (as is the case with professional contingencies); but they can make discharge proposals when they consider that the worker is able to return to work. However, with the regulatory change introduced, the mutual insurance companies will not be able to contact the National Social Security Institute if the public health service rejects their discharge proposal.

In addition, it has been established that in cases in which the medical leave lasts for more than 365 days, the National Institute of Social Security will be in charge of assessing the situation of temporary disability, and not the mutual insurance companies, as was the case until now.

These changes are aimed at improving the social protection of employees, guaranteeing adequate health care and economic benefits in the event of illness or accident at work. They also seek to prevent mutual insurance companies from putting undue pressure on workers to return to work before they are fully recovered, thus protecting workers' rights.

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* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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