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Sickness is "lawful absence". In other words, it is legal to be absent from work when you are sick. The Employers’ and Salaried Employees’ Act (article 5) states that a salaried employee is entitled to full pay during his or her sickness.
If you are absent from work because of sickness you must as soon as possible on your first sick day notify your employer or your workplace. If you fail to do so your employer can dismiss you without warning due to unlawful absence. It is your responsibility to prove that the notification has been given. Therefore, it may be a good idea to use e.g. your email.
As a rule sickness is a lawful absence and consequently is not in itself a fair reason for dismissal. There are exceptions though; e.g. in connection with long-term sickness where the employer cannot determine when you will be able to resume work and none of your colleagues can do your work tasks.
The 120-day rule means that you can be dismissed with a month’s notice for expiry of the employment relationship at the end of a month, if you have received your salary during periods of sickness for a total period of 120 days during any period of twelve months. The rule is described in the Employers’ and Salaried Employees’ Act, article 5, section 2, in which a shorter notice of dismissal due to sickness is discussed.
The dismissal must be carried out immediately on the expiry of the 120 days and while you are still sick. Sundays, holidays as well as days off are included in the 120 days, yet sickness due to pregnancy is not. The 120 days do not have to be consecutive days.
To be subject to the 120-day rule the rule has to be mentioned explicitly in your contract of employment. The rule does not apply for employees in the public sector. Any dismissal from a public sector employer must be carried out with your standard notice.
Contact IDA for advice if you have been dismissed because of sickness and you are in doubt whether or not it is legal.