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Since 1st July 2018, the new Working Conditions Act has definitively come into force, after a one-year transitional period. One of the most important points is the introduction of the basic contract between an employer and an occupational health service or a company doctor, which defines the tasks for which the employer must be assisted by experts.
Other developments include the following:
- the possibility for the employee to seek a second opinion from a doctor other than that of the company;
- the possibility for the employee to question the company doctor through an open consultation hour, for example, in order to prevent complaints and absenteeism, and for the company doctor to access the workplace free of charge to get to know it better;
- prevention and the role of the doctor is increased; for example, the doctor must inform the employer of the application of preventive measures and advise the employer on sick leave instead of simply providing assistance in this area;
- the appointment in each company – with the consent of the works council or employee representatives – of at least one prevention officer, responsible for advising and cooperating with the company doctor and other occupational health and safety providers.
The Social Affairs and Employment Inspectorate (Inspectorate SZW) may impose sanctions on employers, occupational health service providers and occupational physicians in the event of non-compliance with the regulations and the basic contract.