RULEBOOK ON FORMS IN THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
According to this rulebook, the employer no longer has to know due to which illness the employee is on sick leave, ie the form on temporary incapacity for work should not contain the disease code.
The employer does not have to know the employee's disease code
The Ministry of Health has passed the Rulebook on Forms in the Health Care System ("Official Gazette of the RS", No. 31/2021), whose enforcement began in April this year. According to this rulebook, the employer no longer has to know due to which illness the employee is on sick leave, ie the form on temporary incapacity for work should not contain the disease code.
The reason for the passing of such a rulebook is to provide greater protection of personal data, because the data on the employee's disease code represent too much encroachment on the privacy of citizens. Having in mind that the disease codebook is publicly available, the employer can very easily get information about the type of illness of the employee, which are confidential in nature. After all, the employer does not even need that information, because it is enough to be informed about the existence of temporary incapacity as well as the period in which the employee will be absent from work.
The main goal of the new rulebook is to ensure that in communication between the employee, the employer and the Republic Health Insurance Fund (RHIF), confidential information does not reach persons who do not need it. Thus, more general reasons for absence should be entered in the report on temporary incapacity for work, without stating the exact disease code, which has been its obligatory element so far.
The content of the new form, among other things, should include data on days of temporary incapacity for work (first and last day, as well as the total number of working days of temporary incapacity). When it comes to the cause of the incapacity, the rulebook defines the following categories: illness, measure of mandatory isolation, companion, illness or complications related to pregnancy maintenance, donor of organs, cells and tissues, injury at work, injury outside work, occupational disease, care for a child up to three years, care for a child over three years, care for another sick member, care for a child up to 18 years and maternity leave. The form should also contain information on whether the illness or injury was caused by a third person and whether it is a relapse.
Although this rulebook has entered into force, due to the non-compliance of regulations, it happens that the RHIF does not accept the report on incapacity for work if it does not contain the disease code. One of the potential solutions to overcome this inconsistency would be to establish direct communication between the health center and the RHIF, without giving confidential information to the employer.
However, there are cases when the employee is obliged to tell the employer what he is suffering from. These are situations when a certain health condition of the employee could pose a danger to the health of other persons, and the employee is obliged to inform the employer about everything that could affect the safety and health of other employees.
From previous practice, it can be concluded that it is necessary to harmonize regulations in the field of health care and regulations on personal data protection in order for the new rulebook to be applied without creating complications and additional obligations, both for employees and employers and for the entire health care system.