Everything you need to know about sick leave due to a work accident

Know what sick leave due to a work accident is, how it is requested and whether dismissal is appropriate in this period of time.

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According to figures from the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy, from January to August 2023 in Spain, a total of 786,569 workplace accidents occurred. Of this amount, 52.4% were accidents with casualties. What does this mean? Employees may have been temporarily absent from work due to injuries or illnesses caused by their work. 

In this article we talk about sick leave due to a work accident, who authorizes it, how it is authorized and how much the worker receives during this period. Go for it! 

What does the Law say about workplace accidents? 

In Spain, article 156 of the General Law of Social Security defines a work accident as any bodily injury that the worker suffers on the occasion or as a consequence of the work carried out as an employee. This includes accidents that occur on the way to or from work, known as in-itinere accidents, as well as those that occur while performing tasks that benefit the company, even if they are not part of the usual responsibilities. 

However, there are some exceptions. For example, it is not considered a work accident if it is caused intentionally or by serious negligence on the part of the worker, or if it is caused by a force majeure that has nothing to do with work.  

Now, do all accidents lead to sick leave? The answer is no, and in the next section we will explain why. 

When is an accident considered to cause sick leave? 

For the accident to be considered a cause of sick leave, it must meet certain characteristics. The first is what we mentioned before, that is, it occurs during the development of work activities or during the journey between home and the workplace. Besides: 

  • The accident must result in a physical injury or illness that renders the worker unable to perform his or her usual duties. 
  • There must be a direct relationship between the accident and the work performed. In other words, the injury or illness must be a direct consequence of work activities. 

Find out who gives leave due to a work accident and how to request it 

Leave due to a work accident can be given by a primary care doctor or by a mutual insurance company. The process of processing leave due to a work accident generally follows these steps: 

  • Initial medical care: When a worker suffers a work accident, the first thing is to receive medical attention. If the injury is not serious, the employee can go to his or her primary care doctor to receive treatment and obtain a medical report certifying sick leave. 
  • Accident report: if the company is affiliated with the mutual insurance company, the worker can be treated by the mutual insurance company’s doctor instead of going to the primary care doctor. This doctor will issue an accident report, which is an official document that certifies the existence of the accident and its relationship with work, as well as the need for sick leave if necessary. 
  • Notification to the company and Social Security: the doctor gives a copy of the report to the worker, and the National Social Security Institute is the one who notifies the company about the worker’s sick leave. The day of the review and the time in which the employee will be out of service must be included in the sick leave report. 
  • Economic data:   the company has to inform Social Security of the worker’s economic data. 

Financial benefits during sick leave

During sick leave due to a work accident, the worker has the right to collect an economic benefit, which is assumed by Social Security or the corresponding managing entity. On the day the accident occurs, the company must pay the full salary for the day. Starting on the second day, 75% of the salary is received through Social Security. 

In addition, it is important to know that certain employment agreements may offer additional compensation. Likewise, some mutual insurance companies also offer additional supplements to the subsidy, such as payment of 100% of salary during the first days of sick leave, or aid for medical and rehabilitation expenses. We must also mention that, during sick leave, the worker continues to receive extra salary payments. 

Dismissal during sick leave due to a work accident: appropriate or not? 

Let’s clarify something: during sick leave due to a work accident you can be fired from the company. Now, the discharge cannot be the cause of the dismissal. In other words, if the company decides that you have engaged in harmful behavior or that you are not performing your duties well, they can fire you. But if it is discovered that the medical condition is what motivated the decision, it is considered inadmissible.  

Below, we explain the types of dismissal in cases of sick leave due to a work accident: 

  • A dismissal based solely on the fact that a worker is on sick leave due to a work-related accident may be considered void. This means that the dismissal is illegal and the worker must be reinstated in his or her job with the same conditions as before the dismissal, in addition to receiving payment of the wages not received during the dismissal period. 
  • If the reasons for the dismissal are not adequately justified, it may be declared inadmissible by a judge. The company would have to choose between reinstating the worker and paying him the lost wages or compensating him with an economic amount determined by law. 
  • Dismissal is unfair when it is based on justified objective causes, such as economic, technical, organizational or production reasons, or on serious misconduct on the part of the worker. In this case, the dismissal is carried out in accordance with current regulations and the worker would receive the corresponding compensation if applicable. 

We also recommend this article about sick leave due to work stress and another about the keys to the Occupational Risk Prevention Law. Subscribe to Educa.Pro for more current business content! 

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