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Sick pay: ordinance provides for automatic extension of the benefit and employees’ return to work before the end of their fit note
Aimed at reducing the Social Security backlog, new rule waives the need for employees to undergo medical examination to renew their benefit and return to work
In November, the Secretary of the General Social Security Scheme (RGPS) and the National Social Security Institute (INSS) issued Joint Ordinance No. 38/2023. Effective until April 2024, the rule brought in new provisions on the Temporary Disability Benefit, also known as "sick pay" (auxílio doença), with the aim of reducing the backlog of applications for medical examinations.
The regulation introduced two important provisions: the automatic extension of the benefit every 30 days and the permission for beneficiaries on leave to return to work if they feel fit before the end date of their sick note, without the need for undergoing a new health check in either case.
Check out the key aspects below:
Changes to the automatic extension
The previous rule already provided for the automatic extension of the sickness benefit for up to two times, as long as no time slots were available for scheduling a medical appointment with the Social Security Administration within a 30-day period. Anyone who wanted to renew their benefit for a third time was required to schedule a health check, and this possibility was restricted to applications filed with Social Security Agencies (APS) that had health screening booths at their disposal.
With the new provisions, which will remain in force until April 2024, the benefit will be automatically extended as many times as requested by the beneficiary, regardless of the waiting time before examination and irrespective of the agency where the application was filed.
To request an extended leave, workers must submit an application within 15 days of the fit note end date, through the "Meu INSS" website or app or via the 135 hotline. Supplying a new sick note is not necessary.
In doing so, the benefit will be extended automatically for another 30 day-period starting from the sick leave end date, and beneficiaries can file a new request every month thereafter until they are fully recovered.
Workers can return to work before the sick note end date
Another new development is that workers on leave are now allowed to return to work before the end date of their sick notes if they feel fit to resume their job duties, once again doing away with the need for a health check by the Social Security Administration (INSS).
To do so, employees must request the cancellation of the benefit with the Social Security Agency (APS) or by using the 135 hotline, and must supply evidence of their medical discharge. The document can be issued by a private doctor or by the Brazilian Unified Health System - SUS.
What is sick pay?
The sick pay is a payment made to a Social Security beneficiary who provides proof of their inability to work or perform their usual job duties for more than 15 consecutive days due to an illness or accident.
The amount corresponds to 91% of the worker's benefit salary (which is equivalent to the arithmetic average of their social security contribution fees) and must be paid by the employer during the first 15 days of the worker’s absence. From the 16th day onwards, the payment is made by the INSS.
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