How many sick days do you take per year?

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Hi everyone,

 

I just started working and am now aware of the generous sick day policy in Germany (no doctor's note required up to 2 days). I just came across this statistic that on average, German workers take 18.3 sick days a year (!!!) far ahead of other European countries. This means that if one takes a sick day off every month, he's still below the average... I'm just wondering if some of you can share the ball park of how many sick days you usually take a year.

 

https://www.mitrefinch.co.uk/blog/time-and-attendance/sick-leave-uk-vs-europe/

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"usually"?  I usually can't schedule when or how long I'll be sick.  17 million in the EU got "sick" last year with COVID...some were sick for days, some sick for weeks, some sick to death.  Some were fine the year before.   just on this one illness generalizations are meaningless, not to mention a poll of TT strangers.

If I'm a Brit working in germany, am I a german worker?

I just don't see the point.

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The no doctor note required up to 2 days varies by employer. My last employer required it from the first day. I took 3 days last year, 2 because I was actually really sick and one because of a cold and my colleagues were insistent that I go home early since I did not look well ( I felt ok though and felt guilty leaving). I was accustomed to max 3 days a year in Canada and I have only ever taken 1/2 a day in my years working there. I agree the sick days are really generous and one of the pros living here for when you actually really need it. 

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Most places of work are smart enough to detect someone who is always sick on Monday (or Friday).

 

If you're ill, then stay at home. You don't have to stay the full number of days on the sick note, but it often helps.

 

As a random internet user (Brit, now German) living in Germany, office job, I have been off sick for under 6 days a year. Although a colleague of mine was off for 8 weeks with a broken head after a car crash.

 

Oh yes, full pay when sick?

Check your contract. It used to be 6 weeks for any one sickness period (Lohnfortzahlung in Krankheit). Then your KK kicks in at somewhat less.

I believe some companies now pay only for shorter periods.

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"taking sick days" makes it sound like that would be something you personally control?
I'd love to have that kind of a superpower!

 

So far, in my 43 years of work history, I've been taken out by illness for a total of 28 days. That's 0.65 days per year.

 

If anything, the sick days "took me" - not the other way around.

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22 minutes ago, karin_brenig said:

So far, in my 43 years of work history, I've been taken out by illness for a total of 28 days. That's 0.65 days per year.

That's absolutely great.

 

We discussed it once at the Dutch Stammtisch and many think that Germans have a tendendy towards hypochondry and visit the doctor too easily/too often.  Germans also love to go to the pharmacy. The GP often writes sick notes for the entire week, also for smaller things, which is not helpful either. I came to Germany in 2005 and got my first sick note in 2018, so I bring down the average :).

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As one German ex-colleague put it: "next weekend I need to paint my apartment". "(Friday) I'm sick today". "(Monday) Finished painting".

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23 minutes ago, karin_brenig said:

"taking sick days" makes it sound like that would be something you personally control?
I'd love to have that kind of a superpower!

 

So far, in my 43 years of work history, I've been taken out by illness for a total of 28 days. That's 0.65 days per year.

 

If anything, the sick days "took me" - not the other way around.

 

I think most people have enough cop on to know when they have to take a couple of days off - or at least it was the case when I worked in Ireland. Of course, there were a couple of co-workers who were notorious for pulling sickies..our IT company had a few rounds of redundancies in the 2000s, funnily enough they were let go early on.

On the other hand, we had a guy that would come in sneezing and coughing,  it drove everyone crazy in meetings. It wasn't even the case he was indispensable to the team. 

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3 minutes ago, MikeMelga said:

As one German ex-colleague put it: "next weekend I need to paint my apartment". "(Friday) I'm sick today". "(Monday) Finished painting".

I used to say on occasion "I think I'm going to be sick, if this meeting goes on any longer..." My colleagues then knew, that the situation was grave. They said "what!?! you never get sick!" which then prompted me to reply "eben!, so schlimm ist das hier schon"

 

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In my working life, I have had years of zero sick days and I've had years with weeks or even months off work for serious issues. I have no idea of my average. 

 

One former employer put up a graph of our sick days vs. the German average.  He believed that employees were all calling in sick for no reason. He once had to be convinced to let an employee go home who just threw up on the job without requiring a sick note. The employees manager did not want him to get a sick note because he'd get days off and if it's just a 24 hr bug he'd be back the next day which turned out to be the case.

 

This leads me to the subject of sick notes. It is extremely common for GP's to give a generous number of sick days imo because they don't want to bother with people coming back to extend. Most people do not go back to work while they have a valid sick note even if they feel better. Reasons can vary from taking off extra days " just because I can " to believing that you are not insured if you go back early which is not true. However I asked aok about this at some point and they said if I was going back early I should go to my GP and get him to write me a note that I'm good to work. I tried this one time at the request of an employer and my GP refused and said I should take the time off to recover.

 

It also happens that parents of young kids get themselves written off sick when the kids are sick in order to get paid time off. An employer where I worked they all knew this one woman who they said was doing this and they let it slide. I suppose it would be hard to prove it too.

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33 minutes ago, MikeMelga said:

As one German ex-colleague put it: "next weekend I need to paint my apartment". "(Friday) I'm sick today". "(Monday) Finished painting".

 

By announcing that you're about to take sick days in the future (as in pull a sickie),  you run the risk of immediate dismissal.

 

Obviously, planned OPs are allowed though. 

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22 minutes ago, LeonG said:

It also happens that parents of young kids get themselves written off sick when the kids are sick in order to get paid time off. An employer where I worked they all knew this one woman who they said was doing this and they let it slide. I suppose it would be hard to prove it too.

 

well, that is actually legal in Germany.

https://www.baby-und-familie.de/Gesundheit/Kind-krank-Welche-Rechte-Berufstaetige-haben-113801.html#:~:text=Bei%20mehr%20als%20zwei%20Kindern,bei%20mehreren%20Kindern%2050%20Tage.

 

Employer is not required to pay the full salary, but Krankenkasse will pay Kinderkrankengeld.

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1 minute ago, karin_brenig said:

 

well, that is actually legal in Germany.

https://www.baby-und-familie.de/Gesundheit/Kind-krank-Welche-Rechte-Berufstaetige-haben-113801.html#:~:text=Bei%20mehr%20als%20zwei%20Kindern,bei%20mehreren%20Kindern%2050%20Tage.

 

Employer is not required to pay the full salary, but Krankenkasse will pay Kinderkrankengeld.

 

That is not what she did though. She would go to the doctor and get a sick note for herself.

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In our last place this was a nightmare. Specific staff would take sick days to avoid whatever task they didn't want to do. In a way, it's fine, because actually things are better without them, but it is a horrible Vorbild for everyone else.

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5 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

"taking sick days" makes it sound like that would be something you personally control?
I'd love to have that kind of a superpower!

 

So far, in my 43 years of work history, I've been taken out by illness for a total of 28 days. That's 0.65 days per year.

 

If anything, the sick days "took me" - not the other way around.

You kind of can.  You can gauge taking a sick day against how sick you are and if you have anything pressing at work. 

 

I am speaking in theory, as I don't currently have a "traditional" german employer, am running a company with my partner, and can work at home.  But I often think "what would i do under these circumstances if i worked for a real employer, where i HAD to be present, didn't have a deadline and I felt this way and may benefit in the longer run by taking a day off and sleeping it off?  You are quite remarkable for not needing very many days off...That's impressive. 

 

Examples include: extreme painful period (i have had many 2 days like this in my life, but I've seen family members and friends suffer quite severely). other examples: Migraines.  Allergies.  bleeding, bursting Hemmorhoids (I had an employee decide to come to work, then had to go home for that reason - poor thing couldnt even sit).  mild Diarrhea (can work, feel ok, but releasing gas not trustworth). In many of these cases, you can make a decision: take a day off, or medicate yourself to the level of a zombie just to be "present" in the work place.  All these are decisions people could make - i.e. if i have only taken 2 sick days this year, have a terrible migraine and could sleep it off rather than take a medication that has bad side effects, and i know that the average is 18 days a year, then i would take that day off.  If i have already taken days off for a bad flu earlier that year, then I might consider chugging back some painkillers and bearing through it. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Joanie said:

 

2 hours ago, Joanie said:

You kind of can.  You can gauge taking a sick day against how sick you are and if you have anything pressing at work. 

You are quite remarkable for not needing very many days off...That's impressive. 

 

 

thank you :) I believe I am very lucky to have stable, reliable health - and a job that is fun (most of the time). I also try to take good care of this old chassis of mine, doing regular "maintenance", to avoid having to undergo "major repairs".

 

I also strongly believe in the whole "mind over matter" thing - my mind and body seem to work together well. <<knock on wood>>

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I've had zero for the last few years. Even when I had surgery 7 years ago I only ended up taking 2 weeks (when the doctors told me 6) because I soon got bored sitting at home. And it's not that I'm fantastically healthy either: my body seems to somehow know to only get sick at the weekends ;-(

 

I think I'm allowed 3 days without a sick note; I should probably find out. My employer even has an app for sending them in. It does worry me that I'd have to haul myself to a doctors office; anything bad enough to mean I can't work for 3 days and I'll be wanting to stay in bed and to hell with the consequences.

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Once I started a new job being sick for 6 weeks (had broken my hand). However, for the last 25 years I haven´t had one single sick day. I´ve been retired for 25 years though.:lol:

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There is certainly a huge difference between being an employee and self-employed or even ( since corona for many ) working from home.

 

Self-employed as I am, I can choose the moments of a day when I feel willing/able to work. Fortunately, I don’t remember ever having to take whole weeks or months off work ever - even 30 years ago and more when I was sometimes an employee. 
Fingers crossed🙏🏻

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