Carolina Rodrigues and Marcela Tavares   Employees′ sick leaves must be closely monitored by companies, once the understanding by the social security authority that there is a causal connection between the illness and the activity performed may result in: (i) provisional stability for the employee for 12 months after returning to work; (ii) a need to pay contribution to the Unemployment Guarantee Fund (FGTS) and a supplementary amount calculated on the 13th salary, during the period of absence; (iii) a possible imposition of indemnity payment for pain and suffering, and monetary and aesthetic damages; (iv) reimbursement actions by the National Institute of Social Security - INSS; and (v) an increase in the rate of social security contribution.

Carolina Rodrigues and Marcela Tavares

Employees′ sick leaves must be closely monitored by companies, once the understanding by the social security authority that there is a causal connection between the illness and the activity performed may result in: (i) provisional stability for the employee for 12 months after returning to work; (ii) a need to pay contribution to the Unemployment Guarantee Fund (FGTS) and a supplementary amount calculated on the 13th salary, during the period of absence; (iii) a possible imposition of indemnity payment for pain and suffering, and monetary and aesthetic damages; (iv) reimbursement actions by the National Institute of Social Security - INSS; and (v) an increase in the rate of social security contribution.

In the past, the recognition of the causal connection was difficult and depended on proof to be produced by the employee, since it used to be evidenced only when the illness was directly related to the professional activity (technical professional connection) or in the case of illnesses > Currently, however, INSS experts have also been using the epidemiological technical connection (nexo técnico epidemiológico - NTEP), which aims to identify the existence of a correlation between illnesses and certain sectors of the economy.

Thus, based on the International Classification of Illnesses No. 10 (Classificação Internacional de Doenças - CID-10), a list of illnesses and diseases which are now presumably related to certain activities was set, according to the National Classification of Economic Activities (CNAE). Consequently, if the authority detects that the illness is common to a particular activity, it will assume that a causal connection exists.

Considering that the INSS understands that companies are not interested parties in the process of benefit granting and does not notify them about such a concession, the effective monitoring of this process by companies is essential, and enables the presentation of administrative defense or filing of judicial measures to negate the connection.

For this purpose, companies must equip themselves with documents that evidence that illnesses and diseases of their employees are not related to the nature of their activities.