Everybody can fall ill. That’s why in the case of illness, the worker has many rights, but there are also duties.
In case of illness, the employee is entitled to receive a continued remuneration for a six-week period. If after this, he or she suffers from another illness, the entitlement arises again fully. If a new illness occurs during the first, the six-week payment period subsists. Afterwards, the employee is entitled to sickness benefits from the statutory health insurance.
Reporting requirements and providing evidence
If someone, due to illness, cannot come to work, he or she is obliged to inform the employer at the earliest opportunity. The worker is also obliged to present a medical certificate by the fourth day of his disability. The employer can, however, also request that the employee present a medical certificate from his/her first day of absence. The duty to call in sick and to present medical certificates is also compulsory in the case of long-term illness, even if the worker already receives sickness benefits.
Being ill does not mean you must be bedridden
As a disability due to illness can have diverse causes, workers are permitted to leave their house during their illness and even to participate in leisure activities. However, they must behave in a way that will not delay their recovery. Although participating in a social occasion whilst experiencing depression may be health promoting, this is not the case when you are suffering from flu. Furthermore, the worker’s leisure activities can raise suspicions that his/her disease is simulated. This can entitle the employer to dismiss his employee without notice.
Termination during a disease
It is possible for an employer to terminate a working contract during a disability due to sickness, but only under strict conditions. A termination due to a long-term disease is possible if the worker is not able to return to work due to his disease, for a non foreseeable time period. It is also possible to terminate a working contract due to frequent short absences, i.e. when a worker has been absent over many years for periods over six weeks and when it can be expected that the absence rates in the future will continue in the same vein. That’s why the worker, who wants to protect himself against a termination due to sickness, must disclose and justify why in the future further absences are unlikely.
I would be pleased to advise you extensively in all matters concerning disability and in any other employment law matters.