Sick pay

Germany has one of the most generous sick pay systems in the OECD. Learn more about what sick pay is in this article.

Legal Entitlements to Sick Pay

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.

What to Do When You Are Sick

Falling ill can disrupt your routine and work, but knowing the right steps to take can ease the process for both you and your workplace. Here’s a guide to navigate through being sick, ensuring you and your team can manage effectively.

1. Communicate Promptly with Your Employer and Team

As soon as you realize you're too ill to work, it's crucial to inform your employer and team. Communication protocols vary across teams; some might require a call, an email, or a direct message to your manager. Prompt notification helps in managing your absence and keeping projects on track.

2. Obtaining a Sick Note

For absences due to illness lasting more than three days, most employers will require a sick note. However, policies can differ, and some may request this documentation from the first day of illness. During your probation period, especially within the first month, it's advisable to secure a sick note immediately.

Doctors can issue sick notes through various means: in-person visits, phone calls, or video consultations. Digital platforms like TeleClinic or offer a convenient alternative to traditional visits, streamlining the process. These services are also accessible for mental health-related absences, including stress, depression, and burnout.

For those seeking English-speaking doctors in Berlin, there are resources available to find healthcare professionals suited to your needs.

3. Submitting Your Sick Note

As of 2023, the process for submitting sick notes has been simplified. You are no longer required to hand a physical sick note to your employer directly. Instead, employers can access digital sick notes via your health insurance provider, streamlining the process and ensuring your privacy.

4. Prioritize Recovery

Once you've submitted your sick note, you're entitled to take sick leave. This period is protected, meaning your employer must respect your time to recuperate without expecting you to work, attend meetings, or respond to emails. The primary objective is your recovery, with minimal work-related interruptions unless absolutely necessary.

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.

And the process of informing us about your sickness is also very easy: You can easily submit your sick note via the ottonova app - just take a picture and upload it.

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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.

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