Sickness leave rights

If an employee becomes ill and unable work, he must report this to his superior. The employer decides whether to request a medical certificate, in which case he pays for it. VR members earn their sickness leave rights as follows:

  • In the first year, two days for each month worked.
  • After 1 year of work for the same employer, two months for every 12-month period.
  • After 5 years of work for the same employer, four months for every 12-month period.
  • After 10 years of work for the same employer, six months for every 12-month period.

Transfer of sickness leave

An employee who has earned rights to 4 or 6 months of wage payments during sickness leave with their previous employer and who change workplace, shall be entitled to receive wages for no less than two months during each 12-month period.

Accrued rights

When an employee is rehired within one year, all accrued rights are retained from day one. If re-employment takes place after more than one year but within three years, the acquired rights take effect after one month of employment. An employee that has worked continuously for one year or more for an employer shall enjoy the same rights again after three months of employment if rehired after a break of more than three years, but within five years.

Accidents at work and occupational diseases

In the event of accidents at work, the employer shall pay the cost of transporting the injured person to their home or a hospital and will reimburse them for all medical expenses incurred in any given case, other than those paid by social security.

The employer must report all cases of accidents at work and occupational diseases to the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health immediately and report accidents to Icelandic Health Insurance for payments from the social security system. Additionally, accidents at work must be reported to the employer’s insurance company.

Children’s sickness

During the first six months at work with an employer, a parent is permitted to spend two days for each month worked to care for their sick children under the age of 13, provided that no other arrangements can be made to have them cared for. After 6 months of work the entitlement becomes 12 days for every 12-month period. Parents retain their daytime wages as well as supplementary payment for shift work or after-hours work (40%) as appropriate. The same applies for children under 16 years in case of an illness so serious it requires hospitalisation for at least one day.

Per diem payments due to children’s sickness

If the child is sick for longer than the wage earner’s right to wages extends, according to collective wage agreements, to the point of loss of income, VR members may apply for benefits from the union’s sick leave fund because of their children under the age of 18, for up to 210 days (or 7 months) for every 12-month period. The amount adds up to 80% of average wages for the last six months.

Sickness and accidents during vacation

In the event that an employee falls so ill while on holiday in Iceland, in a country within the EEA, Switzerland, the US or Canada, that he is unable to enjoy the holiday, he must notify his employer of such event on the first day of illness by means of e.g. telegraph, e-mail or other verifiable manner unless majeure circumstances prevent him from doing so, in which case he must send notification as soon as such circumstances are alleviated. If the employee meets the notification requirements, the illness lasts for more than 3 full days and he notifies the employer within that time of the name of the doctor from whom he is receiving medical care or who will issue a medical certificate, he shall be entitled to additional holiday leave for the same length of time as his illness demonstrable lasted.

In the above circumstances, the employee must always provide confirmation of illness in the form of a doctor’s certificate. The employer is entitled to have a physician examine an employee who has fallen ill during his holiday. As far as is possible, additional holiday leave shall be granted at the time requested by the employee during the period from 2 May to 15 September, except where special circumstances apply. The same rules as stated above apply to accidents during holidays.