How are sick days handled in Germany?

In Germany, sick leave ('krankheitsbedingte Arbeitsunfähigkeit') is an important aspect of employment and social security. Here's an explanation of sick leave in Germany:

  1. Notification: When an employee is unable to work due to illness, they are required to notify their employer as soon as possible on the first day of illness or even before the start of the workday, typically by phone. This notification should include the expected duration of the illness.

  2. Sick Pay: In Germany, employees are generally entitled to continued payment of their salary during periods of illness. The amount and duration of sick pay vary depending on the employment contract and the length of employment.

  3. Duration: Sick leave benefits typically begin on the first day of illness and can continue for a specified period. The duration of paid sick leave can vary but is often up to six weeks. After that, employees may be eligible for sickness benefits through statutory health insurance.

  4. Sickness Certificates: For longer periods of illness (usually starting from the fourth day, but this is outlined in the employment contract), employees are required to provide a medical certificate ('Arbeitsunfähigkeitsbescheinigung') from a doctor. This certificate should state the expected duration of the illness. The employer may also require periodic updates.

  5. Sickness Benefits: If an employee's illness lasts longer than the initial period covered by sick pay from the employer, they can receive sickness benefits ('Krankengeld') from the statutory health insurance. These benefits are typically around 70% of the employee's gross salary, subject to a maximum income threshold.

  6. Termination Protection: Employees are generally protected from dismissal during periods of sickness. The employer cannot terminate the employment relationship on the grounds of illness.

  7. Rehabilitation: In cases of long-term illness, employees may be eligible for rehabilitation measures, which can include medical treatment, therapy, or reintegration programs. Rehabilitation is designed to support the employee's return to work.

  8. Return to Work: Employees are required to provide their employer with a notice of their return to work, and the employer must accept the employee back if they are medically cleared to resume their duties.

  9. Privacy and Medical Information: Employers must handle employee medical information with strict confidentiality and are only entitled to know the expected duration of the illness. An employer is not allowed to ask the employee about the nature of their illness.

It's essential for both employers and employees to understand the terms and conditions related to sick leave, which are outlined in the employment agreement signed with Horizons. 

We hope you found this article to be helpful. Please reach out to if you require further information about working hours in Germany.

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