Sick notes

Many non-Czechs struggle to understand the Czech system of sick notes (“neschopenky” as they are commonly known). Here is a brief summary to help you understand the main points.

We can only issue sick notes three days back, not counting today – so on Monday we can issue a sick note from the previous Friday but not from the previous Thursday. More than three days back requires that we get special permission from social security. Also, we can only end sick notes three days forward, including today – so if you see a doctor on Wednesday, we can end your sick note on the coming Friday, but if you see a doctor on Friday we cannot end your sick note on the coming Monday.

Unless your sick leave is short, you will be booked for another appointment to end your sick leave. If you simply fail to show up, we must (by law) end your sick leave in your absence.

When on sick leave, your employer can request the authorities to check your presence at the address shown on the sick leave form, and if you are not there, you can be fined. That is why you must make sure that this address is correct; it is also the reason why you must respect the times at which the doctor has indicated that you can leave this address (i.e. only leave the address at those times). If you wish to leave the country, you must end your sick note before you do so – the social security authorities almost never make exemptions from this rule.

You are not eligible for sick leave for procedures that are not funded by public health insurance (e.g. plastic surgery purely for aesthetic reasons).

For employees, the first three days of sick leave are without pay (though some employers may voluntarily pay something), the employer then must pay reduced sick pay up to two weeks and for sick leave longer than two weeks (14 calendar days), social security provides a reduced income.

The sick leave form comes in five parts, as follows:

  1. We send the first part to social security (Česká správa sociálního zabezpečení) at the start of your sick leave.
  2. This part (with the yellow stripe) is for you, the patient, to keep with you until your sick leave ends, when you return it to us, and we return it to social security with further details of your diagnosis.
  3. You give this part (with the blue stripe) to your employer, and it serves as the legal basis for your claim for sick pay.
  4. This part (with the pink stripe) is your application for sick pay from social security, if your sick leave lasts longer than 14 days. You give this form to your employer together with confirmation from us that you are still unfit for work, who is responsible for submitting it to social security.
  5. This last part with information about when your sick leave ended (also with a pink stripe) you give to your employer upon your return to work, who then completes it and sends it to social security.

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