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Sickness down following new law

THE MISUSE of sick leave in Slovakia decreased considerably last year. The average sick leave rate fell from 5.1 percent to 3.7 percent year-on-year, particularly because of the new legislation, the Národná obroda daily reported.

According to the new laws, employers pay for the first 10 days of sick leave of their employees and only if the sick leave lasts longer does the Sociálna Poistovna (SP) social insurer start to pay.

"It has improved control over sick leave and increased the discipline of employees," said Igor Lipták of SP.

The trend has continued into 2005. In the first three months of this year sick leave has decreased by another 0.5 percent year-on-year.

Doctors argue, however, that the changes are to the detriment of people’s health.

Many employees now prefer taking a few days off rather than taking official sick leave because it is more advantageous for them financially.

"As a result they do not have enough days for a proper holiday, which can later have a negative impact on their health," said Ladislav Pásztor, the president of the Chamber of Private Doctors.

Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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