Actions during sick leave

There can be many reasons for sick leave, and the prospects of returning to work can vary widely. One thing is for sure, though: sick leave calls for action. If you are not sure what you need to be aware of in the current situation, you can find help here.

If one of your employees is on sick leave, you must contact the employee to arrange a return-to-work interview no later than four weeks after the first day of absence.

Make sure you focus on the following during the interview:

  • You and your employee should talk about when and how the employee can return to work. This is called a return-to-work plan.
  • If the employee finds it difficult to meet face-to-face because of the reason for their absence, you can conduct the interview by phone or email.
  • If the employee is hospitalised because of the illness and is unable to take part in the interview, you can postpone the interview until it is possible.
  • You must give the employee reasonable notice, typically a few days before the meeting.
  • You must inform the employee of their right to have their shop steward or an intermediary present. An intermediary can be a close acquaintance trusted by the employee or someone from the employee's trade union.
  • You can advise the employee to use the Velliv counselling service.

Duration declaration/medical certificate

An employer can use a duration declaration/medical certificate where the employee is too ill to attend an interview.

If the employee is employed under the Danish Salaried Employees Act, the employer may demand this declaration after 14 days of illness.

The main purpose of the duration declaration is to give a timeframe for the duration of the illness so that you can make the appropriate arrangements at work. It is the employee's GP who completes the duration declaration with the employee.

When the employee is recovering and the time has come to discuss the employee's return to work, the capability report can be used.

You can use a capability report for situations where the employee's capability to work is uncertain. The purpose of the capability report is to make clear the extent to which the employee can work despite their illness. The main purpose of the capability report is to ensure that the employee is kept in employment. There are three parties involved in completing the report – the employer, the person on sick leave and the GP.

If, for a period of time, the employee is unable to work full-time due to illness or treatment, part-time sick leave may be arranged. In any case, the employee must talk to their GP and the job centre. In order for the employer to be eligible for reimbursement under the public sickness benefit scheme, the employee's absence must be at least four hours per week.
In the case of full-time sick leave, the employee may be eligible for partial return to work and gradually increase their working hours. Here the same rules apply according to which the absence must be at least four hours per week.

An on-the-job training programme is set up for two different purposes. Either the employee's ability to work is to be clarified, or the on-the-job training programme is set up as part of the training towards a return to work.
If you have an employee on sick leave, an on-the-job training programme can be set up at the workplace if the employee is not eligible for partial return to work. The aim is to shorten the period of sick leave and help the employee back to work as quickly as possible. In addition, the purpose of the on-the-job training programme at the employee's own workplace is to keep the employee in employment. However, the job centre may refer the employee to an on-the-job training programme in another business when the employee's ability to work needs to be clarified. This provides a picture of overall working capacity.

Ask the Velliv counselling service

In cases where the employee has an expected sick period of leave of more than eight weeks, you and your employee can request a fast track arrangement, which ensures that the job centre calls an earlier follow-up interview than usual. The aim is early help to keep the employee in employment.

The job centre's retention consultant can provide guidance and establish measures to retain your employee.

You can apply for grants and subsidies for assistive devices as well as adjustments to your employee's workplace if this will help keep your employee in employment. This applies to assistive devices that are not considered usual in a workplace.

A return-to-work plan typically lasts 2-3 months and should ensure a gentle and carefully calibrated return to work.

A good return-to-work plan is characterised by a detailed description with a clear indication of the agreements made.

The process must be characterised by predictability and avoid too many changeable situations as far as possible.

Contact us for more information on how to implement a return-to-work plan.

Read more and download a return-to-work plan template

As an employer, you can apply to the job centre to have a mentor assigned to an employee who is on sick leave. The main purpose of the mentor is to help and support your employee with the challenges that can be overwhelming in the job function, for example help with structuring or getting an overview. In this way, your employee is supported in their return to work.