Acceptance of sick note from a foreign doctor during vacation

15 posts in this topic

Dear all,

 

A quick glance in the forums did not yield an answer to my specific question, hence please excuse the new thread.

 

2 days before we were scheduled to return from a 4 week long vacation at my wife's home country, she fell sick and had a fever of over a 101 degrees F. As a precaution in case she would not be allowed to fly, and to stay within the terms of my Reiserücktrittsversicherung, I rebooked us on a flight about 4 days later. We informed her nurse's station so her colleagues could enter her in as sick, and then went to a doctor to get her looked at and be given a sick note.

 

The number of days she was absent from work is 3. Her contract says that she needs to produce a sick note "ab dem 3. Krankheitstag" but that the employer reserves the right to ask for one from day one. Now her public insurance wrote us that they cannot recognize the sick note because Germany and the Philippines don't have a social security agreement. When we wrote the HR asking what to do in this case, they wrote back saying

Quote

Da die Krankenkasse die Krankmeldung nicht anerkennen kann, dürfen wir diese leider nicht als Fehlgrund werten.

While I understand the insurance companies position, the employer should have no problem accepting her sick leave and paying her for the 3 days, IF they believe she was indeed sick, and this is just a matter of bureaucratic issue, right?

 

The HR asked for her understanding and asked if they should instead make it a vacation day or time off. Ultimately, we don't plan to pursue it or cause a spat with the employer. All I am hoping for is that the travel insurance reimburses our extra costs. But I was just curious how this could otherwise play out.

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This isn't a legal answer, but a suggestion:

 

Try going to your German doctor to try your luck if they can retroactively at least write a note to corroborate they received a note from foreign doctor (incl ICD-10 codes?) Before they open their mouth to say something - say it would be unverbindlich and not used for krankenkasse but rather for HR dept / calculation of genuine holiday days. Throw in for good measure that wife wouldn't have sufficient time to erhol if they were unfairly deprived of "Erholungsurlaub" days.

 

The worst they can do is say no, but if you ask them, maybe they can write some non-binding letter which you can *at least* provide HR to claim back your holiday days spent sick. Wife wasn't exactly unentschuldigt abwesend. 

 

Such a non-binding letter will not be enough for the krankenkasse, but should be enough to prove  *beyond reasonable doubt* that wife should be excused from work on those days.

 

If HR still don't accept it, there are other means to get back the equivalent of lost days - Sonderurlaub. If you're moving this year, you're allowed a day off work for that. If you have administrative affairs to tend to, you are allowed a day off work for that. Most people never bother to use those entitlements even when they could. Running around to sort out what to do with a foreign-issued sickness cert isn't exactly not admin related. This is all very picky, and I would exercise caution on playing the Sonderurlaub card with an employer you otherwise have good relations with. 

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The company should also reimburse her the 3 days holiday.

Being ill whilst on vacation shouldn't cost you vacation time. Talk to the workers council. 

 

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I´d ask HR in what way they suggest to prove that she was ill. After all, the fact that there is no social security agreement between Germany and the Philippines doesn´t rule out that you can become ill while in the Philippines. What would they have expected your wife to do?

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Not entirely unrelated:

 

So my wife's head nurse called her aside again and furiously accused her of often misusing sick days and claimed it was often in connection to a vacation or time off. Also she claimed my wife always only calls in sick for 2 days knowing fully well that the policy mandates a doctors note only from day 3. All baseless and without an ounce of proof. I am quite livid. Basically she named two times when my wife called in sick for the entire year which was adjoining a day off.

Besides the fact that for a long time my wife has been unhappy at that job and we have been looking for alternatives, I feel we need to address this latest outburst of wild accusations, at the end of which she was informed that the head nurse along with the director for Pflege as well as the HR decided that henceforth, my wife will have to produce a sick note from the doc from the first sick day itself.(I know they are within their right to ask for one)

So we are thinking of writing an email to sort of be on record with our side of things. I don't know what this will achieve, but I hope they will think that she could go to the Betriebsrat and such. I will post the text of the email here. Please feel free to make suggestions or provide any constructive opinions.


 

Quote

 

Sehr geehrter Herr Pflegedirektor,

sehr geehrte Frau Personalreferentin,

sehr geehrte Frau Stationsleiterin,


ich möchte mich zu dem heutigen Gespräch zwischen mir und Frau Stationsleiterin äußern. Bezgl. meinen Abswesenheiten, insbesondere der Krankmeldung vom letzten Mittwoch wurde ich von Frau Stationsleiterin zur Rede gestellt.
Zuerst beziehe ich mich auf mein Mitarbeitergespräch vor ca. einem Jahr. Bereits dann hat Frau Stationsleiterin erwähnt, dass ichversuchen sollte : "nicht so viele Kranktage in Anspruch zu nehmen". Wie dieses Kommentar zu interpreterien ist, war mir bereits damals unklar. Ich habe es gehen lassen und dabei nichts weiteres gedacht.
Als ich vor mehreren Wochen, Herr Pflegedirektor über eine geplante Abwesenheit eine E-Mail sendete, fühlte sich Frau Stationsleiterin angegriffen, da ichnicht zuerst die Frage bei Frau Stationsleiterin stellte. Der Grund war einfach, dass es dabei speziell um meinen Arbeitsvertrag sowohl besondere Einzelheiten über Urlaubsrichtlinien handelte. Es war keine böse Absicht Frau Stationsleiterin gegenüber aber trotzdem bitte ich um Entschuldigung wenn ich nicht der richtige Berufsweg gefolgt habe.

Letztlich komme ich zum heutigen Gespräch. Frau Stationsleiterin hat ausgeführt ich habe mehrmals mich krankgemeldet oft in Zusammenhang mit einem Urlaub. Gibt es mehr als einen Vorfall? Ist die Anzahl an Kranktagen bei mir auffällig mehr als der Durchschnitt bei allen Kollegen in der Station?

Am Ende meines letzen Urlaub zwischen 16.12.2019 und 07.01.2020 habe ich mich schwer erkränkt. Am 03.01.2020 hatte ich fast über 39 Grad Fieber. Am 05.01.2020, 2 Tage vor dem Rückflug müssten mein Mann und ich entscheiden den Rückflug zu verschieben. Diese haben wir gemacht weil eine Internetrecherche sich ergab, dass mit mancher Krankheiten sowie Fieber usw. man von der Fluggesellschaft, zum Fliegen nicht erlaubt werden könnte. Sofort habe ich Frau Stationsleiterin über Whatsapp benachrichtigt. Frau Stationsleiterin antwortete, dass sie in Brasilien sei und nicht weiter helfen könnte. Dann gab ich bei meinen Kolleginnen Bescheid damit sie mich als eintragen könnten. Gleich zum nächstmöglichen Punkt am 06.01.2020 bin ich zum Arzt gegangen und dort mich untersuchen lassen und ein Attest ausstellen lassen. Dieses habe ich mit besten Wissen und Gewissen und mir zu dem Zeitpunkt verfügbare Information bzgl. meiner Pflichten gemacht. Ich bitte um Auskunft was man an der Stelle besser gemacht hätte oder machen könnte.Frau Stationsleiterin behauptete auch, die Krankmeldung von mir letzten Mittwoch nicht glaubhaft sei und andeutete, ich habe zusammen mit meinem Ehemann bereits vorgehabt, einen Tag früher in den Urlaub zu fahren. Frau Stationsleiterin sagte auch, dass ich mich bewusst immer nur 2 Tagen krank meldete weil ich wusste, dass es ab dem 3. Kranktag ein Schreiben vom Arzt fällig wäre. Ist das eine Pauschalisierung. Worauf bezieht sich Frau Stationsleiterin ihr Verdacht?Ich halte die Vorwurfe/Ausführungen von Frau Stationsleiterin nicht angemessen. Vorallem fande ich die Art und Weise unprofessionell. Eine friedliche und positive Arbeitsatmosfäre halte ich auch für sehr wichtig. Solche ständige Konfrontationen oder Vorwurfe verursachen für mich viele Spannung sodass ich vor jedem Arbeitstag mich nervös fühle über was als nächstes mir entgegen kommt. Bisher habe ich in Rahmen der vertraglichen Rechten und Pflichten agiert. Trotzdem werde ich jetzt angefordert, zukünftig bei jeder Krankmeldung bereits am ersten Kranktag ein Schreiben vom Arzt vorzulegen. Selbst bei der Diskussion hatte ich die Möglichkeit nicht gehabt, mich bei der Personalabteilung oder bei Herrn Pflegedirektor zu äußern.
Sollten Sie an Ihre Aufforderung zur Vorlage des Arztschreibens bereits am ersten Kranktag halten, so bitte ich diese auch schriftlich.

 

Vielen Dank,


Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Missus Martok

 

 

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If it says in her contract that she only needs a sick note from the 3rd day, you should definitely get it in writing that this is being changed.

 

Not that I think this policy will really help the employer as when you see the doctor they will generally give you a minimum of 3 days off and more often a week so if they are worried now that she's often sick for 2 days they will certainly not enjoy it when she starts being off for 3-5 days at a time.

 

Also depending on how HR handles it she might have grounds to quit because of bullying without being blocked from getting unemployment.

 

 

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"Now her public insurance wrote us that they cannot recognize the sick note because Germany and the Philippines don't have a social security agreement. "

 

That can't be right.

I just searched the Internet a little. Every doctor in the world can write you sick. However, it is necessary that the doctor writes "unable to work".

Accoring to a list I found on TK site the Phillipines and Germany only have a social security agreement concerning "pension insurance" - like the US!

How many Germans get sick or have an accident in the US? Do they all take unpaid leave?

I would consult a lawyer.

 

/

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@LeonG: Since I also had a problem with a sick not from the first day, if you are on holiday. It's true.

My employer has the same 3/1 day rule.

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1 hour ago, generalmartok said:

Besides the fact that for a long time my wife has been unhappy at that job and we have been looking for alternatives,

 

Your wife is a fully qualified nurse whose qualifcations are recognised in Germany and she speaks German. Why exactly is she staying in a job that she doesn't love!?!?!?

 

I think she should just look for a new job ASAP. There is a shortage of nurses across the country and any hospital would be lucky to have her.

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42 minutes ago, LeonG said:

If it says in her contract that she only needs a sick note from the 3rd day, you should definitely get it in writing that this is being changed.

 

Not that I think this policy will really help the employer as when you see the doctor they will generally give you a minimum of 3 days off and more often a week so if they are worried now that she's often sick for 2 days they will certainly not enjoy it when she starts being off for 3-5 days at a time.

 

Also depending on how HR handles it she might have grounds to quit because of bullying without being blocked from getting unemployment.

 

 

 

It is allowed to ask a particular employee to produce the sick note for the first day even if the contract, tariff contract or ETV says something different.   However this announcement that the employee must produce it from the first day must be in written and can't be for a period more than 12 months.   

 

I agree with the part that the person will at the end be more absent because doctors tend to give you the MC for a week at a time.

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Thank you all for your answers. The contract such as my own says that the note is required from day 3, but that that the employer reserves the right to ask for one from day one.

 

I changed the text of the email we wish to send. I would appreciate any inputs.

 

Quote

 

ich möchte mich zu dem gestrigen Gespräch zwischen mir und Frau Stationsleiterin äußern. Bezgl. meinen Abswesenheiten, insbesondere der Krankmeldung vom letzten Mittwoch wurde ich von Frau Stationsleiterin zur Rede gestellt. Frau Stationsleiterin hat ausgeführt, dass
1. ich mich zu oft krank melde

2. die Krankmeldung sehr häufig in Zusammenhang mit einem Urlaub oder Freiertag liegt

3. ich mich bewusst nicht mehr als 2 Tage krank melde weil ab dem 3. Tag an Krankschreiben vom Arzt erforderlich ist


Worauf basieren sich die Ausführungen? Gibt es mehrere dokumentierte Vorfälle oder ist das eine Pauschalisierung? Bei meinem Mitarbeitergespräch vor ca. einem Jahr hat Frau Stationsleiterin erwähnt, dass ich versuchen sollte : "nicht so viele Kranktage in Anspruch zu nehmen". Wie ist dieses Kommentar zu verstehen? Wenn ich krank bin, bin ich arbeitsrechtlich verpflichtet, alles dafür zu tun, wieder gesund zu werden. Wenn es dazu gehört, mich zuhause zu erholen, ist dies auch zu tun. Oder wird es mir vorgeworfen, die Krankmeldungen missbraucht zu haben? Hiermit verwehre ich mich ausdrücklich gegen solchen Vorwurfe.

Mir wurde mitgeteilt, ich soll zukünftig bereits ab dem 1. Kranktag ein Schreiben vom Arzt vorlegen. Ich bitte Sie diese Aufforderung mir, schriftlich zu schicken. Erwähnen Sie bitte auch dabei die Rechtsgrundlage.

Darüber hinaus beziehe ich mich auf die Rückmeldung von Frau Personalreferentin bzgl. meiner Krankmeldung für die Tagen 07.01.2020, 08.01.2020 und 11.01.2020. Der Grund für die Ablehnung war "Da die Krankenkasse die Krankmeldung nicht anerkennen kann, dürfen wir diese leider nicht als Fehlgrund werten." Ich war nicht unentschuldigt abwesend. Ich habe sofort nach Bekanntgabe der Krankheit mich bei der Station krank gemeldet. Einen Nachweis wurde auch vorgelegt. Der Arbeitgeber darf gründsätzlich die Krankmeldung annehmen solage keine Gründe vorliegen diese zu verzweifeln. Daher bitte ich um erneute Prüfung und ggf. Stellungnahme.

 

 

1 hour ago, engelchen said:

Your wife is a fully qualified nurse...

Yes, I tell her the same. Not only that, since I am a citizen of ze fatherland, her current visa grants her full access to the job market.

 

She comes from a culture not very used to confrontations. They mostly avoid unpleasant conversations and usually stay quiet or accept things even if there is no fault. I used to be the same. It will take some time for her to be comfortable standing up for herself. She is so amazing. I hate to see her be stressed before every work day because she is petrified of what she will do wrong next or be accused of doing.

 

Thanks again.

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Please try and talk with her about finding a new position.  She is a valuable person with an amazing profession.   As a RN, I know how bullying or any confrontation can be hard- especially, as you say , her background is very non-confrontational.

I have worked with many amazing colleagues  from her homeland, and their skills and compassion are wonderful.

Good luck.

 

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On 2/20/2020, 12:58:24, engelchen said:

Your wife is a fully qualified nurse whose qualifcations are recognised in Germany and she speaks German. Why exactly is she staying in a job that she doesn't love!?!?!?

 

On 2/20/2020, 4:10:03, RedMidge said:

Please try and talk with her about finding a new position.  She is a valuable person with an amazing profession. 

Thanks :)

We are already looking for another job for her. Regardless how this plays out, she is not happy at all there. And hence she will be quitting most likely,

I am just planning ahead in case we do end up needing a lawyer. Hence I have some more questions.

On 2/20/2020, 1:32:18, Krieg said:

can't be for a period more than 12 months. 

Does the employer have to have any valid cause to ask for the sick note from day 1 based on §5 Abs. 1 Satz. 3 EntgFG. We have no issue producing one, but it doesn't sit well with me that she is the only one being asked to do this. Also where can I find a reference to the 12 month limit? She did end up getting a letter in writing, today. However the letter is dated 20.02. But on 23rd, she sent the email from my above post (with some corrections and alterations) to the director of Pflege and the HR.

Also, what would be considered bullying? If say, until the 1-2nd week of March, there is still no response from HR, could the accusations made by her head nurse itself be sufficient?

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6 hours ago, generalmartok said:

Does the employer have to have any valid cause to ask for the sick note from day 1 based on §5 Abs. 1 Satz. 3 EntgFG. We have no issue producing one, but it doesn't sit well with me that she is the only one being asked to do this. Also where can I find a reference to the 12 month limit? 

 

The link you posted includes this:

Der Arbeitgeber ist berechtigt, die Vorlage der ärztlichen Bescheinigung früher zu verlangen.

 

So it says the employer has the right to ask for it earlier. It doesn't say he needs a reason.

 

This link here https://www.kanzlei-hasselbach.de/2013/krankmeldung-ab-wann/01/ also explains that they can and actually recommends that it's only used for certain employees as otherwise Betriebsrat may get involved. This one here is similar: https://anwaltauskunft.de/magazin/beruf/angestellt/krankschreibung-ab-dem-ersten-tag-ist-das-rechtens?full=1

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18 hours ago, generalmartok said:

 

Thanks :)

We are already looking for another job for her. Regardless how this plays out, she is not happy at all there. And hence she will be quitting most likely,

I am just planning ahead in case we do end up needing a lawyer. Hence I have some more questions.

Does the employer have to have any valid cause to ask for the sick note from day 1 based on §5 Abs. 1 Satz. 3 EntgFG. We have no issue producing one, but it doesn't sit well with me that she is the only one being asked to do this. Also where can I find a reference to the 12 month limit? She did end up getting a letter in writing, today. However the letter is dated 20.02. But on 23rd, she sent the email from my above post (with some corrections and alterations) to the director of Pflege and the HR.

Also, what would be considered bullying? If say, until the 1-2nd week of March, there is still no response from HR, could the accusations made by her head nurse itself be sufficient?

 

They can ask to produce it from day one without any reason.  And they can do it for just one person.  Bringing discrimination or bullying ("mobbing") won't work, somebody tried that already and lost the case and there is now one Urteil about it.

 

Sorry, I made a mistake, the 12 months limit is part of our ETV and not a general law.   I actually didn't know this when I posted previously here.

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