what an increase in the number of waiting days would change

what an increase in the number of waiting days would change


According to La Tribune Sundaythe government in search of thrifters could reform the rules for waiting days in the event of sick leave in the private sector, this time preceding the start of Social Security compensation. With what consequences? We take stock.

What are the rules today?

In the private sector, an employee on sick leave suffers three so-called waiting days, during which health insurance does not pay him any daily allowance (IJ). With exceptions: illness linked to a long-term condition, occupational illness or work accident. Furthermore, the employer “compensates” for this deficiency for two thirds of employees.

On the other hand, in the state civil service, there is only one day of waiting time, which is never covered.

How much does sick leave cost?

Of the 250 billion euros in annual health insurance spending, work stoppages represent around 20 billion euros: 18% for maternity, 21% for work accidents, and 61% for illness. A figure that has soared in recent years… particularly due to the health crisis.

“Since” Covid, explained the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire has West France Sunday, but above all “because” of Covid: the Molinari institute estimates “that between 2021 and 2022”, Covid “explains at least 45% of the increase in sick leave compared to 2019”. According to the Drees (which depends on the Ministry of Labor and Health), even in 2022 (latest figures available), the three waves due to the Omicron variant “have generated a large number of sick leave”.

Health professionals are also alarmed by the effects of Long Covidincluding support, in France, remains “unsatisfactory” according to Covars. Observations also made in the United Kingdom and Canada, countries which show their desire to better treat this complex condition to limit damage to social accounts. Other reasons identified: increase and aging of the active population, increase in retirement agesalary increase.

In figures, most sick leave is short-term, and three-quarters of it is due to “seasonal illnesses”. The longest (90 days or more) are both the most expensive… and the fewest (4% of the total). In 2022, 42% of workers (34% in 2021) took time off at least one day during the year.

What is the government planning?

Besides the fight against fraud and abusethe State does not rule out adding one or even several days of waiting in the private sector to the three already in force, it is understood La Tribune Sunday. Is it up to the employer to pay for these additional days? The hypothesis is strongly rejected by employers’ organizations (Medef and CPME). They prefer another option: that of a “public order” deficiency – compensation for which would be prohibited. If it proves more economical for employers, this solution would penalize all employees. But the executive would see it as a symbol of equity between private and public…

What impact for the State?

Financially, the economy would reach one billion euros. But in all cases, it would first penalize the most precarious: those who financially cannot give up one or more days of salary would risk coming to work… sick. With what effects for public health – and, ultimately, for health spending? Many doctors warn: a poorly treated employee risks seeing his condition worsen. If he is contagious, he can also infect his colleagues.

And how effective?

The very effectiveness of the measure remains debated: among civil servants, the waiting day was introduced from 2012 to 2014 and reinstated in 2018. INSEE pointed out in 2017 that it had “not changed the proportion of agents absent for health reasons”. On the other hand, he had “modified the distribution of absences by duration”: those “of two days have decreased significantly”, but absences “of one week to three months have increased”. Same thing or almost in the private sector: a study of Drees, in 2015, found that employees whose deficiency is covered by the employer “do not have a higher probability of having a break during the year”. But on average, their stoppage is 20 to 50% shorter than that of employees who are out of pocket for the first three days, notes Drees.


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