In the previous two months, as many as 92% of companies had employees on sick leave due to Covid-19. Out of that, 72% of employers paid the full amount of salary during the employee’s illness, according to a survey conducted by the Serbian Association of Employers, among almost 300 owners and directors of companies of all sizes, from entrepreneurs to large companies.
Three quarters of employers said that employees sick leave lasted up to 3 weeks, and one quarter said it was longer than that. 65% of the surveyed companies, recorded a loss caused by the absence of employees due to Covid-19, mostly in the manufacturing industry. Measured by the size of the company, micro-enterprises were most affected.
When asked how they solved the problem of absent employees, the majority of respondents answered that they decided to redistribute work among the remaining employees (72%). 15% of them had to reduce the volume of business, and 8% hired new workers. Some have shortened working hours, or sent employees to work from home.
In the comments on the current situation and the Serbian government’s recommendation that companies pay 100% of their salaries to workers suffering from the Covid-19 virus, the vast majority of employers find it illogical to differentiate between workers with different diagnoses, some of which are far more serious than Covid-19. Despite this, as many as 81% of micro and small enterprises pay 100% compensation for sick pay due to Covid-19.
Among recommendations to the competent authorities, the following stand out:
- to adopt and implement a clear strategy in the fight against the pandemic
- to work intensively to achieve a high vaccination rate
- that the employer pays to employees who are temporarily prevented from working due to Covid-19, 65% of the salary as stipulated by the law, and the remaining amount to full salary to be paid by the state
- to reduce tax liabilities and postpone deadlines for their payment
The mentioned survey is a part of the regular activities of the Serbian Association of Employers, which has been constantly monitoring the situation in the economy of our country since the beginning of the crisis caused by the pandemic. Based on the obtained results, SAE informs the competent authorities and launches appropriate initiatives to improve the position of companies and their easier fight against the consequences of the pandemic.