Varuh ДЌlovekovih pravic

Amount of salary compensation in the case of (un)proven COVID-19 disease

The petitioner pointed out the difference in the right to salary compensation for the period of temporary absence from work between her and her husband. As an official COVID-19 patient, her husband was entitled to salary compensation amounting to 90% of his salary base, while the petitioner was only entitled to a salary compensation amounting to 80% of her salary base because she had not been tested.

We turned to the Ministry of Health for explanation. In our letter, we stated that although we understand the concerns of the relevant profession as to the viability of testing all potentially infected persons, this, however, raises the question of fairness of the resulting lower salary compensation for the infected insured persons who were not tested and were therefore not officially considered to be COVID-19 patients.

The Ministry of Health submitted a reply in which it agreed that this distinction was a consequence of the circumstances beyond the influence of the petitioner herself.  The Ministry of Health consulted the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (ZZZS), which on that same day informed all healthcare providers how to proceed in such cases in order to avoid making distinctions.  Under the new arrangement, in order to "confirm" the COVID-19 disease, two conditions must be cumulatively met:
–    the insured person must have a respiratory disease, but testing was not carried out, and
–    the chosen personal physician must at the same time establish that the insured person has been in (more) intensive contact with a person suffering from the COVID-19 disease (e.g. family member, etc.). In the latter case, the epidemiological profession proposes to impose on the insured person an isolation measure for a period of 14 days (which will end after that time or, in the case of further development of the disease and the confirmed virus, will continue until recovery).      

The Ministry of Health added that the petitioner should contact her chosen personal physician who has to correct her electronic medical record, as this is the only way for her to be entitled to a higher salary compensation due to her temporary absence from work.  Accordingly, we proposed to the petitioner to take the aforementioned steps.

We note that the Ministry of Health duly considered our concerns and, in accordance with the principle of fairness, abolished the distinction between "proven" and "unproven" COVID-19 patients in cooperation with the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (ZZZS). We assess the action taken by the Ministry of Health as positive and timely. The initiative was justified. 9.4-44/2020