Incapacity for work describes a state in which a person is physically or psychologically unable to carry out their job
At this point, it is important to note the distinction the German health insurance system draws between different types of unfitness for work.
Incapacity for work (Arbeitsunfähigkeit) is the less severe form. It describes a temporary state from which the person in question is expected to make a full recovery in time. A doctor’s report is required to determine incapacity for work.
The more severe form of unfitness for work is permanent occupational disability (Berufsunfähigkeit). In this case, the person cannot reasonably be expected to resume at least 50% of their usual work duties within 6 months and may ultimately never fully recover.
Employees must immediately inform their employer if they are ill, injured or otherwise unable to work.