The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy submitted the draft of the Third Bureaucracy Relief Act (BEG III), with which, among other things, the electronic certificate of incapacity for work (eAU) is to be introduced nationwide.
The BEG III provides for amendments to the Continued Remuneration Act (Entgeltfortzahlungsgesetz- EFZG) and to the Fourth Book of the German Social Code (Viertes Sozialgesetzbuch – SGB IV), according to which, among other things, legally insured employees will no longer have to prove their incapacity for work by submitting a paper certificate to their employer. Instead, the health insurance funds provide the necessary information for retrieval by the employer. According to the current status of the draft, only the name, beginning and end of the incapacity for work, date of issue and the information on first or subsequent notification are provided here. Thus, the name of the examining physician, which can be seen from a paper certificate, is omitted. In addition, the health insurance funds shall check the creditability of previous illnesses on the basis of the medical diagnosis and other available data and inform the employer about the expiry of the continued payment of remuneration.
However, the paper certificate does not disappear completely. It will continue to be handed over to the employee and will serve as alternative proof if the electronic procedure fails in an individual case, as well as a document for submission to court with the currently recognised probative force. The obligation of the employee to notify the employer immediately of illness remains unaffected, as does the employer’s right to request a medical examination before the fourth day of illness. The new regulations also apply exclusively to employees with statutory health insurance who are examined by a panel physician. In all other cases, the legal situation remains the same.
The amendments to the EFZG are to enter into force on 1 January 2023. The amendments to SGB IV concerning the retrieval of data from the health insurance fund and information on the expiry of the continued payment period are to take effect as early as 1 January 2021.
According to current status, existing employment contracts do not have to be adapted, since the mandatory legal regulations take precedence over them. Once the law has been enacted, however, the requirements for the procedure in the event of illness should be reviewed and, if necessary, supplemented.
As usual, we will inform you here about the further progress of the legislative process and the final legal provisions of the BEG III, including the practical effects.
André Schmidt Dr. Lorenz Mitterer