While a lot of friends, family, and colleagues are getting infected with the new variant, it has proven to be a lot milder, and most are staying home for a few days with a bit of flu and a clogged nose. So, while we let go of most of the regulations and can look forward to spring and some newfound freedom, let’s keep in mind that some new rules regarding sick leave may still be in place for a while longer.
In this article, we will go through the current laws and regulations in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.
Reimbursement of sick leave
In Norway, the rules regarding refunds of sick leave payment in case of Covid19 have been reinstated. This means that from the 1st of December, you will be refunded from day 6.
NAV has a supplementary article on how employers can apply for reimbursement here.
The employer's opportunity to receive reimbursement of sickness benefits during the employer period in the event of corona-related absence from and including day 6, has been extended until June 2022.
There will also be a double quota of care allowance for employees in 2022. This has previously been signaled to apply for 2022, but was only recently adopted. These double care days can be used when the general conditions for care allowance are met. With others, it is not a requirement that the absence must be corona-related.
Exemption from wage obligation during redundancy
The government has extended the period the employer can lay off their employees.
Employers who had fourteen or fewer weeks left of the period with exemption from wage obligation as of 31st of December 2021 may extend the exemption period until and including 31 March 2022.
Up to and including 31 March 2022, the limit on the number of exemption weeks within a period of 18 months does not apply.
Temporarily abolished medical certificate within 14 days. This proposal will last until the 31st of March.
The government has decided to abolish the parking benefit until 31 of March. Azets payroll will do a retroactive correction of the months January-March for employees concerned.
Covid restrictions will be gradually lifted in Finland during February and March, with decisions on dates and measures made regionally. The regional coordination group proposes recommendations and restrictions related to the epidemic. The official decisions will be made by the Regional State Administrative Agency (Aluehallintovirasto) and by municipalities.
The government plans to end the nationwide remote working recommendation before March, according to news agency STT. The current recommendation is for people who can work from home to do so, and although the nationwide recommendation is set to end, the measure can remain in force on a regional basis.
Reducing risk of infection
Quarantine recommendations differ regionally. The Helsinki area and several other municipalities have announced changes to practices regarding the quarantining of people exposed to coronavirus. This means that anyone exposed to the virus within their own family circle, or at work, in school or in a daycare environment are no longer required to quarantine under the terms of the Communicable Diseases Act. Instead, infected or exposed people are advised to act on their own initiative to reduce the risk of potentially infecting others.
Certificates on quarantine are no longer issued by municipal or hospital district physicians who are responsible for infectious disease control. It means that you can’t claim quarantine benefits from Kela.
If you have symptoms and can’t work you call a normal sick leave and follow your employer’s instructions.
In Denmark, Covid-19 was from the 1st of February 2022 no longer categorized as a socially critical illness, causing the restrictions to be lifted. According to the Prime Minister, we are through the critical phase and can now return to the everyday life we knew before the pandemic.
There is still a strong appeal to all to show consideration and care for those citizens who, with good reason, want to avoid being infected with Covid19.
Even if the restrictions become a thing of the past and everyday life returns, the authorities will still follow Covid closely. As a virus, it is unpredictable and there may be new variants in the fall. That is why it is absolutely crucial that we are very well prepared, says the authorities.
It may become relevant with a 4th vaccination later in the year. However, if this will only be relevant for the most vulnerable, or for everyone, is yet to be seen.
The authorities continue to recommend that you take a home test before being around high numbers of people, especially vulnerable citizens. It will still be possible to get a PCR test so that you can have your positive home test confirmed.
Many countries continue to have Covid-19 related entry bans or entry restrictions for Danish travelers. Non-vaccinated travelers in particular will face restrictions and requirements for testing and isolation. Some countries also have a requirement to show negative testing, which can be a challenge for previously infected people.
If the Covid-19 situation in a country, region or territory worsens as a result of a new worrying virus variant, an emergency brake can be activated at short notice. This can imply that all travel to the country in question is not recommended in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' travel guide, which is thus colored red.
Corona Passport will continue to be relevant in connection with travel abroad, just as traders, private cultural institutions and associations will continue to have the opportunity to voluntarily set restrictions - including requirements for Corona Passport.