giovedì 30 ottobre 2008

Hoops

This post comes to you from a fuzzy-headed sick person, curled up on the sofa with a duvet and SATC re-runs on Comedy Central. It’s that time of year again, except that it feels like about 5 minutes since the last time it was that time of year….
Having moved house recently, I have had to go through the pain-staking task (even more painful than my tonsils) of registering with a new doctor and managing a rather bitchy email conversation with the HR department at work. One of the very many bureaucratic hoops that needs to be jumped through in order for daily life to go on in many Italian companies involves an obligatory sick-note for even a single day of illness. This is a pain in the ass if you have, say, a headache, or you ate a bad shrimp, as even if you don’t need medical attention you are required to drag yourself to the doctor’s office and wait in line just to get a note. As I’ve probably mentioned on this blog before, doctors in Italy don’t have receptionists or secretaries and don’t work in surgeries, so the doctor’s office is literally just that. If you call you often don’t get an answer as it is the – always busy - doctor himself who mans the phone and in many cases (as with mine) there is no appointment system. Your only choice is to turn up and hope - even if all you need is a note because that bad shrimp kept you away from the office for a day….
Then there’s the three day rule. If you’re absent for 3 days or more, you need a special note, a copy of which you are obliged to post to the National Insurance office ON THE SECOND DAY of your illness. No exceptions. So, imagine that bad shrimp has you running to the bathroom for 2 days straight. On the first day you have to drag yourself to the doctor’s and hold your stomach while you wait in line with a room full of old ladies, and on day two you have to do the same at the nearest Post Office. If you live in a small village like me, you’ll probably have the same group of old ladies for company on both days. Arriving in the waiting room yesterday evening 15 minutes before the doctor herself was due to arrive, I opened the door to be greeted by 8 pairs of elderly eyes, including my next door neighbour. Seeing me enter, she looked delighted that she would be the bringer of good gossip, enquiring sweetly “Anche Lei sta male?” “Are you ill too?”. I exchanged the usual Italian pleasantries with her and the others, before taking my seat and leaving them to natter away in dialect about the weather, feeling quite relieved that I couldn’t take part even if I wanted to as Pavian dialect is a total mystery to me. Half an hour later the doctor still hadn’t arrived and the smell of unwashed old person was starting to make me feel nauseous, so I gave up and went back to my sofa. I discovered today that I am a day late in sending the medical certificate to INPS, which apparently means the end of the world is nigh. My fault entirely of course, for not jumping through those hoops….

6 commenti:

Michellanea ha detto...

This is what an Italian mamma is for! She goes and handles this bureaucratic BS while you are sick so that you don't have to. This system was not set up for independent people who take care of things on their own or who don't have family nearby. I remember having the same fight with my former employer and finally resorted to having my MIL (I know, the shame) go for me. Fortunately, she lives nearby. What do you do if you literally have NOBODY and really do have a high fever and are vomiting?

Emmina ha detto...

Of course.... How silly of me to have moved away from my family, to earn my own money, pay my own rent and take responsibility for my own life.... What was I thinking????

Ms. Violetta ha detto...

What happens if you cannot get the note?

Piccola ha detto...

What a pain! I hope you get well soon. Here you only need a note after three consecutive days missed. But it's nowhere near as troublesome to get it, well, that is if you have health insurance, of course. If one is without health insurance, but makes a decent wage, then you might have to pay near a hundred dollars for that little note. Could be more if you require various tests. We can't win can we??!!

Emmina ha detto...

Ms Violetta,
If you can't get the note you're pretty much stuck. It's obligatory (in most large companies) and so you just have to.

Piccola,
Health insurance is a good point - and fortunately something which we don't have to battle with here in Italy. We do pay around 30% income tax though - not sure how that compares to the US....

Kataroma ha detto...

Yeah I always find this mind boggling too. I haven't actually been sick for more than a day since I started my 'proper' job though.

I hate that whole 'well, just get your mum to do it' thing. I had to go to the Comune to take care of some stupid bureaucratic stuff when I was 8.5 months pregnant and the woman there was like "what are you doing here? Why don't you get your mother to do it?" My mother lives in Australia you dimwit -and even if she were here in Rome she has a full time job and better things to do than run all over town doing her adult kids bureaucratic stuff for them!