Electronic Sick Leave Certificates: How It Works-Publication
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Alla Matyukhina

Methodologist Unicon Outsourcing

Virtually all accountants and HR specialists have already heard that the sick leave certificates will become electronic starting from 1 January 2022. However, some questions persist. This article will yet again review the basics of the system: how it is supposed to work and what will change for each employee and employer.

Thus, effectively from 1 July 2017, electronic sick notes (ESNs) were officially equated with hard-copy sick leave certificates that used to be the only document officially entitling an employee to a sick leave, injury, or maternity leave allowance for quite a while.

Even in 2021, companies are still required to accept any form of the sick leave certificate; however, starting from 1 January 2022, a transition to a fully electronic format will be launched.

The relevant amendments were introduced to the law by Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 1381 dated 23 August 2021.


PURPOSE OF ESNs

The list of essential reasons for the introduction of ESNs includes efforts to counter fake sick leave certificates. The introduction of ESNs made it possible to abandon the cumbersome data retention and processing system by integrating all sick leave data into a unified database under the supervision of the social insurance system.

The Social Insurance Fund is now able to keep track of any manipulations with sick leaves and prevent any potential risks of fraud with the documents.

The other obvious benefits of ESNs for employees, medical doctors, employers, and Social Insurance Fund who are involved in the issue of ESNs will be reviewed below.


ESN SYSTEM ROLES

The issue of ESNs involves four parties: healthcare provider, company employee, employer, and Social Insurance Fund. What are their specific roles?

Healthcare provider:
  • Requesting the ESN number from the Social Insurance Fund’s information system;
  • Opening, renewing, and closing ESNs;
  • Sending the sick leave certificate to the Social Insurance Fund.

Employee:

  • Forwarding the ESN number to the employer;
  • Receiving the allowance.

Employer:

  • Requesting the ESN via UIIS by reference to the number;
  • Sending the information to the Social Insurance Fund.
  • Finally, the Social Insurance Fund will calculate and pay the allowance.


WHAT CHANGED FOR EMPLOYEES?

As compared to the past when the employee receiving a hard-copy sick leave certificate had to have it authenticated by seal in the registration office, safekeep it, and deliver it to the accounting Department in apparent good order and condition, the ESN has significantly accelerated and simplified these processes.

As the sick notes will be made in the electronic format only, the patient’s written consent to the issue of the electronic sick leave certificate will no longer be required.

The healthcare provider will issue the ESN number to the employee who will have to forward it to the company’s accounting department at his/her convenience:
  • By presenting a ticket with the number;
  • By calling or sending an email to the employer.

This system is very convenient for the employees working from home, whether full-time or part-time.

There is nothing else the employee has to do. It is possible to monitor correct assessment of the sick leave allowances and their amount in the user account on Gosuslugi website.

ESN is a strictly confidential document: the employee’s diagnosis will be kept in secret.


WHAT CHANGED FOR EMPLOYERS?

In a similar vein, it has become much easier for the employer to issue the employee’s sick leave allowance.

The most important thing is to prepare the foundation, i.e. to provide the technical possibility of accepting and processing ESNs by creating an account in the social insurance system and obtaining the qualified electronic signature (QES).

To process ESNs, the employer may use the accounting software, EDM providers’ software (SBIS, Kontur, Taxcom, etc.) or download a free software programme from the Social Insurance Fund’s website. It is allowed to use the same signature that is used by the company for reporting purposes.

The Social Insurance Fund has launched a new service for communication with employers known as the Social Electronic Document Management. It may be used to communicate with the Social Insurance Fund online to obtain the information on the electronic sick leave certificate.


How is the sick leave processed by the employer?

After receiving the 12-digit ESN number from the employee, the employer will obtain all necessary details of the sick leave from the Social Insurance Fund. It will use them to fill out the part of the form it is responsible for and calculate the sick leave allowance in the dedicated software programme (e.g., 1C) automatically.

The same software will be used to retain the information on the insuring employer, insured employee, employee’s average pay, etc. This makes it possible to reduce the number of errors and avoid fines in case of inspections.

The ESN eliminates any document authentication costs. In case of doubts, the company may either contact the Fund’s territorial authority at the place of registration or the regional office at the healthcare provider’s location using its details specified in the ESN.

The new system saves the company’s time and budget, as it is no longer necessary to retain, process, and transmit the sick leave data to the Social Insurance Fund. All relevant information has already been downloaded to the electronic registry for the purpose of the allowance by default.


WHAT CHANGED FOR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS?

To issue an ESN, the clinic or hospital where the employee has requested medical assistance is required to have the Internet access, be registered in the Sotsstrakh UIIS, and have a QES.

Just as before, on the day of the employee’s visit, the healthcare provider’s doctor will open an ESN; however, he/she will sign it both with his/her own QES and with the healthcare provider’s signature and send the data to the Social Insurance Fund.

In a similar vein, most fields containing the patient’s data will be filled out by the software programme automatically, which reduces the duration of the patient’s appointment.

After filing out the documents, the doctor will give the number of the electronic sick leave note to the employee to be forwarded to his/her company by the latter.


SYSTEM RELIABILITY

All parties involved in the document management process will exchange the information on the insured events associated with sick and maternity leaves via the Sotsstrakh Unified Integrated Information System of the Social Insurance Fund of the Russian Federation. The information will be exchanged via the dedicated software (inter alia, 1C).

The system ensures the confidentiality of the medical information provided and rules out any risk of unauthorized access by third parties. To connect to the system, it is necessary to download free software and create a user account on the Social Insurance Fund’s website or install the software from a verified vendor.

This approach will make it possible to minimize the risk of errors during the issue of sick notes, rules out the risk of fake documents, accelerates the payment of the allowance to the employee, and optimizes the resources required for verification, accounting, and retention.


Source: Klerk







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