February 4, 2023

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"New times are coming."  Depression is viewed differently by the ZUS

“New times are coming.” Depression is viewed differently by the ZUS

– Each certificate can be examined regardless of the reason for incapacity to work. However, it should be noted that with Institute statistics show that several years ago there were more and more sick leave due to behavioral disorders and mental illness – tells us a spokesman for Bowie Chebroski Social Insurance Corporation.

The ZUS report notes that in 2021, a depressive episode ranked eighth in terms of disease entities causing the longest illness absence, and reaction to severe stress and adjustment disorders ranked fifth.

The rest of the article is under the video

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Poles are chronically tired

According to ZUS statistics, after a significant increase in sick absences due to mental and behavioral disorders in 2020 (by almost 37% in the number of days and by 25.3% in the number of medical certificates), in 2021 there was a decrease of 8.9 percent. – The number of days of sick absence and the number of benefits granted – by 7.7 percent.

Depression was the most common reason for employees using the so-called L4 and in 2021 there was also a decrease in sick leave for this reason. Growth seen elsewhere – Because of distress and fatigue in 2021, 261,000 such certificates have been issued for a total of 1.3 million days. Compared to 2020, this is a twofold increase in both factors analyzed.

This does not change the fact that mental disorders are one of the most common causes Issuance of sick leave longer. More than 40.9 million days of sick absence were caused by pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium. It was followed by diseases of the skeletal system, muscles and connective tissue – 39.5 million days, followed by injuries – 31.5 million days, diseases of the respiratory system – 27.8 million days, and mental disorders – 25.2 million days.

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Moreover, the number of days per average length of leave due to mental and behavioral disorders was 18.75. For comparison, in the case of pregnancy and puerperium, it was 23.61 days, and in the case of cancer, it was 19.10 days.

Unusual recommendations

We talk about employer problems with Ewelina Pietrzak-Wojnicz, legal advisor, and company representative to address harassment and other unwanted behaviour.

I know cases from practice when an employee, being on sick leave, went to something that each of us would objectively call a vacation, however, despite the inspection, the ZUS reported that this vacation was used correctly. She has two faces. When we talk about an employee suffering from depression, it happens Medical recommendations are sometimes non-standard. The doctor may recommend a change of environment or even a trip to warm countries. However, from an employer’s point of view, it is difficult to determine if someone is violating leave and using it instead of vacation leave, says Ewelina Pietrzak-Wojnicz.

She adds that in her practice it happens that even the first sick leave raises suspicions. Then the employers are faced with a dilemma – on the one hand, they must ensure the continuity of work in their company, and on the other hand, they feel that it is morally debatable.

Control of the depressed patient

Let us remind you that a sick leave check can also be requested at the request of the employer himself. This is what our interlocutor – Polina, who suffers from depression, suffered.

– You have received a summons from the Social Insurance Institution with information about the date and time of the inspection. I was told that I had to provide a medical history. I expected such a move from the employer, it was my first long layoff in this company, – she tells us.

How was the inspection? “On the appointed day, I went to the ZUS. A doctor saw me, asked why I was on sick leave, what was going on. I began to explain I have been treated for depression for four yearsRecently, however, the symptoms have worsened. I am experiencing harassing behavior at work, which has affected my health – I started having anxieties again, had problems sleeping, eating, and also experienced psychosomatic symptoms. The doctor acted like a scribe, she addressed me in the third personShe kept asking, “How do you still feel?” I gave her a medical history that I had previously requested from my attending physician, and she reviewed it. When I finished reading it, I heardWell, it worked“- says Pauline.

Perception change

Interestingly, as noted by Ewelina Pietrzak-Wojnicz, the nature and outcome of ZUS inspections among employees with mental disorders is changing.

– Before changing the regulations, sickness benefits could “intertwine” with each other. There was no need to apply for rehabilitation benefits after 182 days. It so happened that the employee has not been with the company for two years. We had a case last year when an employee had not been at the factory for a long time, and the last doctor who issued her sick leave was a psychiatrist. The legal advisor reported that she had decided to apply for the rehabilitation benefit very late, but that application had been left unprocessed for too long.

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Her employer was sure she could fire her, but ZUS granted her the benefit. It was a signal to me that times are changing, because I’ve had previous examples in practice of you not getting rehab benefits if it was based on mental illness. It can be seen that the concept of these diseases is changing – in brief Ewelina Pietrzak Wojnicz.

In the third quarter of 2022, the Social Insurance Institution executed 109.1 thousand. Monitoring persons with a certificate of temporary inability to work (318.8 thousand people in the period from January to September). As a result, he was released 6.0 m. Decisions preventing further payment of sickness benefits (16.5 thousand in January-September 2018). The amount of benefits withheld on this account in the third quarter of 2022 amounted to PLN 5,899.6 thousand. PLN (in January-September 14882.5 thousand), ”we read in the statement of the Social Insurance Institution.

Weronika Szkwarek, journalist at money.pl

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