Through Memorandum 897 of March 2nd 2023, the Italian INPS (National Social Insurance Agency) has placed emphasis on the transmission of sick notes through electronic means. This principle has already been defined by the Prime Minister’s Decree of March 26th 2008 and, subsequently, by the Ministerial Decree of February 26th 2010, as amended by the Ministerial Decree April 18th 2012.
In particular, the sick note must be issued by a public healthcare authority or by a doctor who has entered into an agreement with the National Health Service.
The case of maritime workers
For the maritime sector, given its peculiarity, the competence for the issuing of sick notes is distributed among Maritime, Aviation and Border Offices, Healthcare Services for Seafarers (USMAF-SASN) and doctors in Italy and abroad, as well as doctors from the NHS, based on the occupation of the insured worker.
Also for this type of workers, the medical certificate must be transmitted via electronic means, in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Memorandum mentioned above. In any case, on an exceptional basis, original hard copy certificates are also accepted. In spite of this exception, the document must be sent no later than 2 days after the issuing. Failure to do so implies the loss of the related sickness allowances.
Moreover, as provided for in INPS’s Message n. 4010 of November 14th 2023, workers must indicate an address in the certificate. Such address will be used for at-home medical check-ups (for visits abroad, reference shall be made to the instructions provided in Memorandum n. 87 of July 2nd 2010).
Assegnments of sick maritime workers
Finally, regarding assignments abroad of sick maritime workers landing in Italy, it is mandatory to undergo a medical examination at the closest medico-legal operating unit, with respect to the place of landing or the place of residence or domicile in Italy (Message n. 4271/2018).
Should workers leave the country also in case of an adverse opinion/absence of authorisation, they will no longer be entitled to the related allowance (as provided for in Memorandum n. 134368 A.G.O./14 of January 28th 1981, par. 14.2, which is applicable to all insured subjects).