Termination of employment on sick leave

Employment relationship can only be terminated on a weighty and substantive basis. Sickness is, in principle, a non-acceptable reason unless the worker’s ability to work has been substantially and so long-lasting ebbed that the employer cannot reasonably be expected to continue with the employment.

Totally other question is whether the notice of termination can be delivered to a worker who is on sick leave. This is legally possible. However, it may be that the procedure is prohibited in a collective agreement. It is necessary to always check the collective agreement before the employer takes action on the employment relationship.

According to the Employment Contracts Act, notice of termination shall be delivered to the employee personally. Generally, notice of termination shall be given at an event with an employer’s representative and an employee present. The employee acknowledges with the signature that he has been informed of the notice of termination.

If the employee is on sick leave, this is not possible. In that case, the employer does not have to wait for the employee’s return back to work, but the termination notice can be delivered by letter or e-mail. The notification shall be deemed to have been received by the consignee on the seventh day after it has been sent. Termination notice can also be sent with the assistance of a bailiff, whereby the employee is considered to receive the notification the day the bailiff presents it.

If the employee has been notified of the termination even before the seventh day, the notice period begins to run from this date. This can be seen, for example, in e-mail receipt.

It may be that an employee will only be informed of termination after seven days. However, this is not relevant to the employer, but the calculation of the notice period begins on the seventh day.

It is not recommended that the termination shall be submitted by SMS. However, if an employee receives a text message, and there will be no doubt about it, the text message is as valid termination term as a letter.

If the employee is on annual leave or for at least two weeks off because of working hour equalization, a notice of termination sent by letter or e-mail shall be deemed to have been delivered, however, at the earliest on the first working day after the leave. In such cases, you should therefore wait for the employee to return to work.

Of course, it is generally reasonable for the employer to wait a worker to return to work from sick leave before giving the notice of termination, unless long sick leave is in question.

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