Professional burnout is not a reason for a sick leave


Contrary to sensational reports that have circulated in the media recently, professional burnout cannot be the basis for L4 (sick leave). 

In contrast, it is true that from 2022 the International Classification of Diseases and Health Problems ("ICD") - Revision 11 ("ICD-11") comes into force, which introduces the (un)new term "occupational burnout". Unfortunately, the wrong conclusions have been drawn from this. 

Firstly, the classification will not replace the current classification (ICD-10) as early as January 2022, because Poland has a 5-year deadline to implement the latest version of ICD-11. According to the Ministry of Health, during this time, work will continue on translating the latest classification into Polish. These works are not expected to be completed until the 30th of June 2023. At least until then, we will use the current ICD-10.

Secondly, professional burnout is not recognised in the newest classification as a disease, but as a syndrome (symptom). According to the definition of the latest classification, it is a syndrome resulting from chronic stress in the workplace that has not been effectively managed. This is confirmed by the WHO in its communications, as well as by the placement of the syndrome itself in the group of factors that are not diseases. 

This means that since job burnout has not been classified as a disease, doctors should not issue sick leave for this reason - even if diagnosed. This is because sick leave can only be issued in the event of illness.

To sum up, currently and for a long time to come, the ICD-10 will continue to apply, with the term "burnout" known since the 1990s, which is undoubtedly not a disease and has never been (at least in Poland) recognised as a reason due to which a leave can be issued and a person cannot come to work.

Source: Onet
Date: 16 December 2021
Language: Polish