Three-day work absence should be possible without sick note, says Vandenbroucke

Three-day work absence should be possible without sick note, says Vandenbroucke
Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

After first stopping the one-day sick note, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke now also wants to do the same for work absences of three days, in the hope that that this will give GPs more time to help patients who really need it.

Belgium opted to scrap one-day sick notes from 2022, making it possible for employees to take sick leave without a doctor's note. While employers initially feared it would lead to so-called 'Monday morning sickness', short-term sick leave in companies instead fell by 5%.

"We have already taken a small step by allowing people to be at home for one day without a mandatory sick note," Vandenbroucke said on Flemish radio on Thursday. "The system didn't work the way it was before. People go to the doctor, who then writes them a sick note for several days when one day is often enough."

Data from HR services company Acerta confirms this: due to ending one-day sick notes, there are more people who stay at home for a day but there are clearly fewer sick notes from people who are at home longer. This, Vandenbroucke said, indicates that the current system is a burden for GPs and is not having the desired effect.

Related News

"If you are really sick, you should obviously go to the doctor but we must avoid unnecessary paperwork for those GPs," he said. "You should not ask your doctor for a sick note if it is not needed; GPs are already overloaded."

Vandenbroucke has been working to expand the measure for a long time, but there is no majority in government for it. "There is a lot of resistance from employers too, but I think they are mistaken. I asked them to give me more numbers, it's time to look at the facts."

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.