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October 20th, 2008

Running around

I started the day by calling my doctor to ask for more drugs. His secretary was understanding and gave me an early appointment. My doc took it well - "hello, sit down" "no, thanks, I'd rather stand" "oh" "yes, I just broke my back" "aha". The hospital had already sent him my epicrisis (apparent it's another word for this in English - it's the written summary of diagnosis and treatment from the hospital to the patient's primary doctor) so he got a quick overview and gave me a couple of prescriptions for pain killers. He promised not to make me an addict - he'd make sure I actually had pains again if he suspected I had had too much drugs.

After some quick blood work (I insisted on standing and promised the nurse not to faint) I walked down to work for lunch. I met a bunch of people from my old job on the way down, and lots of surprised colleagues at work - they didn't expect me to get back this fast. I am not really back, though, just wanted some food and company for lunch, and had to hand in my sick leave forms. It's a new form this autumn, so the HR people didn't quite know how to handle them but I left the papers with them and trust them to figure it out.

The sick leave is quite interesting. I have 100% sick leave, meaning the company pays me 100% while I am off, and is refunded everything except the first 16 days from the Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV). Until the stitches are out I should stay home, after that I have an active sick leave, meaning I can work as much as I want to - and still be at 100% sick leave, just entitled to stay at work if I want to. The company still is refunded 100% from NAV,

Simple logic would find this scheme beneficial for the employer, and that's why there were restrictions on it before (NAV had to accept it, but as far as I know doctors can choose active sick leave as they want now). Here you have free employees, just let them work as much as they want, and you just make money on it. The funny part, though, was that the HR people at work wanted me to get a graded sick leave next time, or if I felt I could work quite a bit. This means I have to calculate my work capacity well before I am actually working, and they have to pay my salary for the time without sick leave. What's the logic in this? Wouldn't active sick leave just be simplest for all of us - I don't have to find out now how much I can work in 4 weeks, I don't have to feel bad about working at half steam for a while, and they don't even have to pay me at all?

Of course a flexible graded sick leave would be best - let me decide how much I can work from day to day, but this requires quite a lot of trust in that my employer don't abuse me. (I have this trust in my employer, but I understand that this shouldn't be a general trust.)

I have also been out for several walks today and made dinner. Now I am fed up of standing and will lie down with a book.


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