Covid-19: Special sick leave and the benefits for working parents according to Law 4889/2022

Law 4889/2022 “New Competition Law for the digital age – Amendment of L. 3959/2011 and incorporation of Directive (EU) 2019/1 of the European Parliament and the Council of 11th December 2018 to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and ensure the proper functioning of the internal market” was published in the gazette 12/Α΄/24.01.2022.

Some of the most important arrangements are the following:

A. Article 61 par.1 replaces article 16 of L.4722/2020, affecting the benefits of working parents in the private sector due to Covid-19 infection of their children.

More specifically it is stated that:

  1. Parents employed in the private sector, in case of COVID-19 infection of their children, infants and toddlers, primary and secondary school students until the 6th grade, children attending special schools or school specific education and training units, as well as children with disabilities who are beneficiaries of open care services for disabled people, regardless of their age, are entitled to provide their work remotely, for a period of up to 5 working days.
    If remote work isn’t possible, for the same period, parents are entitled to a special leave due to Covid- 19 sickness of their children, that is granted for the first 4 days while for the 5th day they can make use of any other kind of absence.
    In both cases, a positive diagnostic test is sufficient, according to the relevant health protocols in force.
    Special leave shall be granted in addition to any other child sick leave but may not be granted when at the same period the parent is on any other kind of leave.
  2. Employed parents will receive from their employer 50% of their daily wage for the first 3 days, while for the 4th day they will receive from the state 100% of their daily wage.
  3. If both parents are entitled to special leave, the leave is granted to only one of the two. If one of the parents is not employed, then the other parent cannot make use of the special leave, unless the unemployed parent is hospitalized or infected by Covid-19 or is a person with 67% disability and above, according to the relevant certificate of the health committee, or receives a disability allowance from the Welfare and Social Solidarity Fund (OPEKA) or invalidity pension. If one of both parents is a teacher, the leave must be granted to the other parent regardless if he/she is employed in the public or private sector, except only in the case that the other parent is employed in the health services sector.
  4. Employers are obliged to declare to “ERGANI” those employees that make use of special leave as well as its duration.
  5. The procedure and the way in which the employee is granting the leave, the supporting documents and any other detail applied to the relevant provision is defined by a joint ministerial decision of the Ministers of Finance and Employment and Social Affairs.
  6. This provision shall apply until 15.04.2022 and its validity may be extended by a decision of the Minister of Employment and Social Affairs.

Par. 2 of Article 61 provides that remuneration, for days of child-care leave granted in accordance with Article 16 of Law No 4722/2020 before the entry into force of the above provision, shall be paid and payments shall be made in accordance with the same Article.

 

B. Article 62 makes the provision of special sick leave for employees infected by Covid -19

Specifically:

  1. Employees in the private sector, in case of COVID-19 infection, are entitled to provide their work remotely, for a period of up to 5 working days. If remote work isn’t possible, they are entitled to a special leave due to Covid- 19 infection, for the same period.
    For working remotely or granting the special leave, a positive diagnostic test is sufficient, according to the relevant health protocols in force and no medical report is required.
    Special leave shall be granted in addition to any other employee sick leave and cannot be granted in the case that in the same period the employee is on any other type of leave.
  2. Such leave may be extended in accordance with the relevant health protocols in force.
  3. Such leave shall be treated as sickness leave and the provisions in force concerning the method of payment by the employer and the entitled allowance by SSF shall apply.
  4. By decision of the Minister of Employment and Social Affairs, specific conditions and further details in relation to the granting of the leave, as well as any extension thereof may be lay down, as well as any changes to the general application of the regulation.
  5. The provision shall apply until 15.04.2022 and may be extended with a decision of the Minister of Employment and Social Affairs.

Finally, article 62, par. 6 provides that article 15 of L. 4722 / 2020, on the replacement of the employee's absence from work, shall continue to apply only to employees that have been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid 19 and are under restriction, in accordance with the relevant health protocols in force and for the number of days defined therein. For the enforcement of article15 of L.4722 / 2022, the employee must submit a declaration form, stating and documenting that he/she has been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, and the relevant balance of working time, will then relate to the total work hours corresponding to the working days that he/she was under restriction.