Members of the Social Security Institute of Guatemala (Instituto Guatemalteco de Seguridad Social – IGSS) who are entitled to benefits under the Sickness, Maternity and Accident Programme (Programa de Enfermedad, Maternidad y Accidentes) and on leave from work due to COVID-19 receive a subsidy payment to substitute the salary they would otherwise receive, proportional to the measures outlined in the corresponding regulations.
The institutional regulations state that the maximum payment period for sickness payments is 39 weeks. Article 31 of these regulations outlines the rules for calculating this maximum sickness payment period. Among these rules, paragraph a) states the following: “If, during a period of incapacity due to a certain illness, a person contracts another illness, the time period for the subsidy will be calculated as if the illnesses were one and the same”. Therefore, as a result of the experience of the COVID-19 health emergency, we established that the regulations needed to be updated to respond to the needs of members, mitigating the impact of the negative economic consequences and reduced resources available to members.
Given that the pandemic happened so unexpectedly, we decided that payment periods for sickness leave relating to COVID-19 needed to be excluded when calculating the maximum sickness payment period of 39 weeks.