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Staff on sick leave

This figure indicates the extent of sickness notifications of employees. In Germany, employees reporting sick are entitled to receive continued full pay from their employer. That entitlement generally is limited to six weeks per year. Afterwards, the health insurance institutions pay sickness benefit.When calculating the indicator, only those notifications of sickness are included which extend beyond a three-day waiting period.

Employees reported sick for 10,8 days in 2016

Number of days in sick leave per employee per year (in working days)Enlarge picture

In 2016, employees in Germany reported sick for an average 10.8 working days. In previous year this figure was still 10.0 working days. Since 2008 is observed a moderate increase in days of sick leave.

Smallest number of days of sick leave in 2007

In 2007, the smallest number of days of absence were recorded since 1991, when the average had been 12.8 days of sick leave. The figure was down to 8.1 in 2007, which is a 37% decrease. Possible reasons for that trend might be an improved health situation or the decrease of work involving health risks (e.g. in industry). Also, the fear of losing their job may cause employees to report sick less often. Especially in periods of weak economic activity, the number of sickness notifications decreases, as is shown by the development since 1991.

Staff on sick leave per employee per year
of employees
reporting sick
in %
Staff on sick
leave in
number of
working days
in days
Source: Labour Volume Accounting (IAB).
1992 5.112.8
1994 5.012.5
19955.2 13.0
19964.8 12.0
20024.1 10.2
20033.7 9.2
20053.6 9.2
20073.3 8.1

Proportion of people reporting sick rises slightly again

The proportion of employees reporting sick is a piece of information complementing the data on the average length of sick leave periods. The average share has developed parallel to the average number of days of sick leave since 1991. At the time, 5.2% of the employees had reported sick. In 2007, the share of sickness notifications reached its low (3.3%). In 2016, an average of 4.3% of the employees reported sick.

Information on the Indicator

Description or definition
Staff on sick leave per employee per year (in days)

The indicator “staff on sick leave in days” is the average number of days of absence due to sick leave per employee per year.

Labour Volume Accounting (IAB).

Information for interpretation
Staff on sick leave refers to the average number of days of absence because of inability to work per employee. As the basis for the calculations are based on reports of sickness certificates, it is necessary to know that such a sickness certificate that attests the inability to work are usually submitted only after three days of absence.

For more information please refer to:
Institute for Employment and Research (IAB), Gender and age specific measurement of hours worked.
Institute for Employment and Research (IAB-Kompendium), Volumes of hours worked (only german).

© Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis), 2019

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