In order to receive the insurance payment, a rather rigid procedure has to be complied with. Within three days from the moment of the on set of illness or the occurrence of an accident, a statement of illness (or of incapacity to work), or a sick certificate (if the physician responsible for treatments has the right to issue such a certificate) must be submit ted to an authorized insurance organization. In an event when the phy sician has no right to issue a sick certificate, the insurer must organize a medical check up independently, by the results of which the decision as to the payment or non payment of an insurance sum is made. If this procedure is not complied with (in terms of timelines, or for reasons of impossibility to obtain a sick certificate from an authorized physician), a person loses the right to receive the payments. The received sick cer tificate must be submitted to an employer within 7 days from the mo ment of its issuance, or otherwise the amount of payment for the sick certificate should be decreased by 25 % from the 8th day of illness until the moment of the employer receiving the sick certificate.
All the payments for illness and care for a child are made only on the basis of a medical certificate stating the necessity of being cared for (or of rehabilitation of health, etc.) and issued by an authorized physician (most often this is a representative of the insurer).
A separate group is represented by medical insurance payments (payments for diagnostic procedures, preventive measures, medical treatment, etc.). The right to such payments is enjoyed by insured em ployed persons, students (the full amount), persons in search of em ployment in another EU member state (during three months of such search), or persons receiving an annuity or a disability pension (in that EU member state by which the annuity or pension is being paid).
4. Payments to uninsured persons The opportunities to receive the payment available to uninsured per sons in Poland are rather small. In addition to cash benefits designed to support the family, these include:
• survivor’s pensions (pensions paid to a surviving next of kin);
• lumpsum payments in an event of the death of a next of kin;
• pension provision to uninsured persons.
Survivor’s pensions (payable to a widow (er) or a child) are paid only in the event when the deceased has been insured under the system of state social life insurance. The amount of pension for the applicant is calculated in accordance with the same system as it would have been calculated for the deceased person. If the deceased person received an annuity, the survivor pension is calculated in accordance with legislation of those EU member states, which participated in the pay ment of annuity to that deceased person.
The right to lumpsum payment in an event of the death of a next of kin belongs to that relative who undertook all the funeral costs, that payment covering the average cost of a funeral. The right to claim this payment exists during 12 months from the day of death of the next of kin. It is necessary to submit a death certificate, as well as the docu mentation in confirmation of the actual expenditures.
The pension to uninsured persons is equal in its amount to the mini mum pension amount as envisaged in Poland’s legislation.
Thus, the social security system in Poland is aimed at creating rigid incentives for labor activity: the majority of benefits can be received only if a person has social insurance and pays deductions from his or her income to social funds at a certain rate.
Another important aspect of that country’s social policy is the en couragement of the activity of non government organizations. The status of a non government organization is established by Law of April 2003 that regulates the activity for society’s good and volunteer activity. The Law contains the requirement concerning the development of a “third sector”46. Non government organizations in Poland are rec ognized as those juridical persons that do not belong to the sector of state and local finances and do not operate for the purpose of generat ing profit, and are created on the basis of the provisions of the laws, including funds and associations, with the exception of political parties, trade unions and employers’ organizations, self regulating organiza tions, funds, whose sole founder is the state treasury, as well as forma tions without the status of a juridical person, operating in compliance with the law.
The most important innovation in the Law is the introduction of the notion of “the activity for society’s good”. The activity for society’s good is understood as a socially useful activity aimed at providing solutions to social problems. The Law categorizes as socially useful the activities in the following spheres: social support, charitable activity, support of na tional traditions, the cultivation of “Polish mentality”, as well as the de velopment of national, civil and cultural consciousness, activity for the good of ethnic minorities, the protection of health and promotion of a healthy lifestyle, activities for the benefits of persons with special needs, aid in finding employment and professional realization, the en The third sector is a general term, denoting non government organizations. It was bor rowed from the English language and has to do with the division of socio economic activ ity in modern democratic countries into three sectors. Under this typology, the first sector is represented by state and local administrations, also sometimes determined as the pub lic sector. The second sector is the sphere of business, or all those institutions and or ganizations whose activity is aimed at generating profit. The third sector consists of all those private organizations that work for social purposes and not for generating profit, or all non government (non commercial, or not for profit) organizations.
suring of equal rights of men and women, aid in economic develop ment, activities for the benefit of local communities, science, education, enlightenment and child rearing, studies of local history and the organi zation of leisure of children and young people, culture, the arts, protec tion of cultural achievements and traditions, physical culture and sports, environment protection support, protection of animals and na ture’s heritage, maintenance of public order and security, as well as counteraction to social pathologies, distribution of knowledge and skills relating to the sphere of improving national defense, distribution and protection of freedoms and human rights, as well as civic freedoms and democracy – promoting activities, salvage and protection of people, aid to victims of disasters, famines, armed conflicts and wars in the coun try’s territory and abroad, protection of consumer rights, integration into the European culture and development of contacts and coopera tion between societies (or peoples), promotion and organization of vol unteer activities.
On an application submitted by a non government organization, the latter may be recognized as an organization for society’s good. In this case, additional requirements are applied to it (the annual publication of a report on its activity, as well as of its financial and accounting reports, the entry in the National Judicial Register, rigid restrictions on the or ganization of economic activity, the use of its total income for executing its socially useful activity). However, substantial privileges are also es tablished for the organizations for society’s good:
• the use of immovable property on privileged conditions;
• the right to receive 1% of the personal income tax;
• exemption from the tax on profit of juridical persons, from the tax on immovables, from the levies on civil legal acts (e. g., contracts), from the state and judicial levies in respect to their activity for soci ety’s good;
• the possibility of publishing free of charge the information on their activity through state television and radio stations;
• the use of the work of persons drafted into the army for an alterna tive type service.
One more important privilege of organizations for society’s good is the opportunity to receive a state order for the fulfillment of public tasks. The order consists in a partial or in full financing, by administra tive bodies, of the activity for society’s good or any other of the afore mentioned subjects. The initiative in this case may belong both to the administration and to the non government organization. In any event, the order is to be fulfilled on the basis of a tender.
The intermediary between the State and organizations for society’s good is the Council for the Activity for Society’s Good – the experts’ and consulting body existing under the Minister for Social Policy. The Coun cil may express its opinion on issues of law enforcement, as well as the draft laws put forth by the government and addressing the activities for society’s good and volunteer activities. The Law envisages a mixed composition of the Council. The Council consists of 20 members: 5 rep resent the state administration, 5 – local self government and 10 – non government organizations (as well as unions and associations of public organizations). The Council’s period of office is 3 years.
At the present moment, several dozens of big non government or ganizations are operating in Poland, of which 20 have been created with an active participation of foreign citizens; also, the UNO’s volunteer missions are implementing their programs. It should be noted that among non government organizations there are also those whose ac tivity is directed against the government’s official standpoint (for exam ple, the Polish Federation of Women and Family Planning, which is campaigning for the legalization of abortions, while in Poland there is a ban on abortions), but the government’s attitude to such organizations is tolerant: no cases of their prosecution have been registered, while non government organizations, without exceptions, are allowed to post their e mail addresses on the government’s portal dedicated to the de velopment of the third sector.
Estonia The body responsible for social policy in Estonia is the Ministry for Social Affairs.
The social security system in Estonia, as in the majority of post Soviet states, is to a smaller part dependent on social insurance (de ductions from the incomes of employed persons), and to a greater – on state financing. The Ministry for Social Affairs has proclaimed a policy of “social inclusion”, which implies, first of all, the creation of incentives for the population’s employment (this is understood as the implementation of various programs of assistance in the search for a job, of teaching the Estonian language, of creating state funded jobs, or of creating op portunities for retraining and on site training), but alongside all those measures the State also takes it upon itself to provide for those social strata that are in need of social protection. In contrast to Poland, in Es tonia budget funding constitutes a certain component of nearly all so cial payments, and thus a person becomes entitled to the right to re ceive a benefit irrespective of whether he or she has participated in the creation of those funds, which are the source of such payments.
The system of social payments includes the following types of bene fits:
• medical payments;
• disability benefits and benefits in an event of incapacity for work;
• survivor benefit;
• child benefits and benefits to support the family;
• unemployment benefit;
• aid in the acquisition of housing;
• aid in the restoration of “social inclusion”.
1. Medical payments Medical payments include the funding allocated to medical treat ment, rehabilitation, purchase of medications, as well as the coverage of a sick certificate. In accordance with the Law on medical insurance and the Law on the organization of medical services, the system of medical insurance is extended to all the citizens of Estonia, irrespective of whether any deductions from those persons’ income are being trans ferred to the medical insurance fund. The medical insurance fund is formed from the social tax (13 % of the amount of salary) paid by the employer. The State itself transfers payments to the medical insurance fund for certain categories of persons determined by the law (those who exist solely on social benefits, the military, unemployed spouses of diplomatists, victims of radiation exposure, etc.). For another group of persons (women from the 12th week of pregnancy, persons receiving a state annuity, children under 19 years of age, students of secondary schools and colleges who are under 21 years of age, students of higher educational establishments who are under 24 years of age), no deduc tions at all are transferred. At the same time, all those categories of citi zens have the right to be recipients of the full scope of medical services covered by the system of state insurance, with no regard for the amount of deductions for those persons being transferred to the insurance fund.
Also, the resources of the medical insurance fund cover the cost of a sick leave (in the amount of 80% of salary for each day, or in the amount of 100% of salary if the sick leave is granted for the birth of a child, care for a sick child or an unfortunate production accident).
Uninsured persons have the right to receive emergency medical care.
Out of the total of medical expenditures executed in Estonia in the year 2004, 65.2% is constituted by those from the medical insurance fund, 8.8% – from the state budget, 1.5% – from local budgets, 24.5% – from the private sector (of which 20.7% – were citizens’ out of pocket expenditures, 1% – private medical insurance, 2.8% – employers’ expenditures).
2. Annuities Annuities after the reform of 2002–2003 have been composed of three components: state annuity paid from the pension insurance fund formed by the social tax being paid by employers on the amount of salaries (in the amount of 20% of salaries), the sum of deductions to mandatory social pension insurance, and the sum of deductions to vol untary supplementary social insurance. Net state annuity is equal to approximately 37% of a person’s previous level of income; the sum of state annuity and mandatory pension insurance increase the amount of annuity to 50% of a person’s previous level of income, and with the ad dition of voluntary insurance this sum may become as high as 80%.