Sick leave in Germany

The German system of sick pay and sickness benefits is different from those in most English-speaking countries. However, it is actually pretty straightforward.

Who is eligible for sick pay?

Under German law, employees may be entitled to receive 100% of their salary from their employer as sick pay. However, there are a few important things you need to know.

What happens if I’m still ill after 6 weeks?

After the initial period of 6 weeks, your own health insurance must take over providing sick pay. Once again, there are a few things that are useful to know under those circumstances.

German sick leave culture is pretty unique!

This might sound strange to people who have worked elsewhere, but employers in Germany usually don’t begrudge paying sickness benefits – in fact, many encourage staff to take time off to recover! The purpose of the sick pay is to let you focus on getting better without watching the bills pile up. Although this pragmatic attitude does mean that Germans take more sick leave than workers in other countries, most German employers would rather have you back fighting fit than struggling through your duties.


After your policy is finalized it will not be adjusted again based on the variables of aging, increases in health care needs or increases in salary.

If you are eligible for private health insurance and you are in Germany on a visa or a limited permit, we can offer you the Expat Tariff up to five years.

Under the private health insurance system, every family member needs their own individual policy, and the cost (premium) is calculated based on each person's health and age when they enroll. Because of this, children's premiums are typically quite affordable. To insure your children in private health insurance can have a lot of advantages. Read more in our article about private health insurance for families!

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