Why the government wants to curb the issuance of sick leave by teleconsultation



Their development, however unanimously welcomed during the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, is starting to make people cringe. Wishing to tackle social fraud, the government introduced in the budgetary texts for 2023, presented to the Council of Ministers on Monday, September 26, a measure providing for the end of the reimbursement of work stoppages issued by teleconsultation by a doctor other than the doctor.

For the executive, the freeness of these medical consultations would lead some employees to chain “online consultations until finding (doctor) who would like to issue them with sick leave?explained the minister delegate in charge of public accounts, Gabriel Attal, in an interview with the Sunday newspaper.

Sick leave costs 8 billion euros

According to the minister, this practice thus represented 100 million euros in 2021 for Health Insurance. A sum that should increase this year. “Over the past year, 110,000 work stoppages were made by teleconsultation. It was twice as much as the previous year and it will be twice as much this year,” says François Braun. “Of these 110,000 work stoppages, in 8 cases out of 10, these are patients who have an attending physician and who have had a work stoppage taken by another doctor. It questions, assured Tuesday, September 27 the Minister of Health on franceinfo.

In France, these exemptions from work can be issued to employees by any doctor, attending or not, general practitioner or specialist. During his sick leave, the employee benefits from daily allowances paid by the National Health Insurance Fund, after a waiting period of three days. They are set at 50% of the basic daily salary and capped at €49.68 gross per day. According to the Department of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics (Drees), these Social Security expenses reached more than 8.8 billion euros in 2019 (last year before the Covid epidemic) .

Nearly one in two employees on leave each year

Sick leave concerns a very large number of employees in France. According to the absenteeism barometer of Malakoff Humanis, published on September 8, 42% of them have been prescribed a work stoppage this year. An increase compared to the two previous years which is explained by the end of partial unemployment and confinements. This figure thus returns to its “usual” levels and even exceeds the 41% recorded in 2016 by the same barometer.

“Sickness absenteeism results in an overrepresentation of young people (18-34 years old), which has been constant since 2016 (46% in 2022 compared to 42% for the whole)”, specifies the social protection group, which also indicates that women are more affected than men by work stoppages: “In 2022, 48% of women were arrested compared to 27% for men (44% compared to 38% in 2016). »

According to a study conducted each year by the insurance broker Diot-Siaci, the average duration of a sick leave is around 23 days. A number that has been constantly increasing in recent years, and which places France among the European countries which prescribe the most work stoppages.

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