Sick pay

Germany has one of the most generous sick pay systems in the OECD. You can also check out our Expat Wiki explainer on sick leave in Germany

Sick pay is a benefit paid by either your employer or health insurance provider to replace wages lost due to incapacity for work


By law, German employers must pay their employees their salary in full for the first six weeks of illness. You must inform your employer immediately of your incapacity to work in order to receive sick pay. In most cases, employees can only trigger this six-week period once per year.

At the end of this six-week period, employees receive sick pay in the form of daily sickness allowance from their health insurance provider. The exact amount of these insurance benefits and how long you receive them will be determined by your policy.

Your employer and insurance provider may require a doctor’s note (Arbeitsunfähigkeitsbescheinigung) attesting to your incapacity for work. Your doctor may qualify his opinion if you are able to perform minor or light duties.

Freelancers obviously do not have an employer, which means that statutory wage-continuation provisions do not apply. If you are self-employed, you should consider a health insurance policy that provides sick pay benefits from the first day you are unfit to work.

At ottonova, we tailor your sick pay to your needs: you can determine when your sick pay coverage begins and the amount you receive, up to a maximum of €300 per day.

ottonova for Expats

Interested in private health insurance in Germany? We help you to find the best tariff.

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We are happy to schedule a call to find out your personal needs and provide you with an initial quote. We will then help you and guide you through our online enrollment.

In the next step you will speak with our medical underwriters regarding health topics and your financial situation. If you have already been insured in Germany for the last three years, we will then provide you with your finalized offer. Otherwise we will organize a medical check-up for you.

We work with a company called Medicals Direct that will send a private (English-speaking) nurse to come meet you at your preferred location. They will do a general check up and take a blood sample.

At the moment we do not offer any money back if you don´t make usage of the insurance, as we want you to go and have your annual check-ups.

However, we offer reward points via our Health X program. Read more about Health X here.

The long-term nursing care insurance 'Pflegepflichtversicherung' is a mandatory insurance for everyone who lives in Germany. This insurance will cover you if you require long-term care and need external help.