What happens when you are sick and no longer doing job? How long does your employer have to pay the salary, if at all? Questions that you might rather rarely face, but these can become suddenly important in case if an operation or a serious illness. We will tell you what is the salary payment in the event of illness and how much your salary or the sick payout is. You will also learn how to report your illness and what happens if you get sick during your holiday.

1. Overview: Sick leave and salary
2. Inability to work
3. Duration of pay continuation
4. Wage advance with repeated inability for work
5. Self-inflicted inability for work as a special case
6. Illness on vacation

Overview: Sick leave and salary
Pursuant to section 3 of the Remuneration Payment Act, one has the right to claim payment of salary or wage extension in the case of unpaid inability to work. This means that if you are ill or unable to work, your employer has to pay you up to six weeks your salary. This only applies if you have been working for four weeks or more in the company. If you are unable to work for more than three days, you must submit a medical certificate to your employer.
However, the employer can ask for it earlier. If this certificate is not available, the employer may refuse the payment until the certificate has been lodged. In this case, however, the employee has a retroactive claim to his salary.

Inability to work: When is one considered incapable of work?
Disable for work means that the worker can no longer perform his work or is no longer able to do so because of the medical prognosis. Sick is therefore not automatically equal to “inability to work;” It always depends on which tasks and requirements are done in the respective job. A broken foot can make a waiter unable to work, but the same cannot be said [necessarily] for an online marketing manager.

If the employment contract stipulates that the boss can also deploy an employee in another workplace, he may employ him in such a way that he can work despite the illness or the restriction. In this case, of course, the entitlement to wage extension is omitted, since the normal wage is already paid.

In the case of wage advance payment, the earnings for the failed work are paid. However, the employment relationship must have lasted for at least four weeks. Overtime is not taken into account, unless they have solidified in the past in such a way that they are now part of normal working hours.

Duration of pay continuation
The employer’s obligation to pay shall be terminated after six weeks. If the employee is still incapable of work, he is usually paid health insurance from his health insurance company. Even if you have not been employed for four weeks in a company, you will get sickness insurance from the health insurance.

The amount of money the pay is based on your income: The sickness benefit is 70 percent of the regular gross income (although this amount is limited to 90 percent of the net salary.) These payments are received by employees in the event of first incapacity to work due to a particular disease.

Wage advance with repeated incapacity to work
The best way to describe the wage repayment in case of repeated incapacity for work is through an example: Susan was six months incapacitated or ill. After working for a week again, she falls ill with a new illness and falls out this time for three weeks. In this case, there is a new entitlement to pay continuation, which in turn lasts for a total of six weeks.

New or Continuing Disease?
If an employee cannot pursue his/her job through a repeated inability to work, a distinction must be made between whether the new inability to work is based on the same illness (continuation disease) or on a new illness.

In the case of new illnesses, a new entitlement to payment of wages (also for a maximum of six weeks) arises. An addition of the disability periods is therefore prohibited.

No new entitlement to wage extension will arise if a new illness occurs or falls during an inability to work, or if the previous illness is replaced by a new one, without the employee having intervened through his work. The six-week wage extension is therefore not extended.

Continued payment of wages in continuation diseases
If there are several incapacitating periods as a result of the same illness, the employee is only entitled to a remuneration payment for a maximum of six weeks, even if he has been in his workplace and pursued his job. The individual phases of incapacity for work are thus added.

Here, however, there are two exceptions to the payment of remuneration:
1. Exception: If, for the same illness, a period of six months is between the end of the last incapacity for work and the beginning of the new incapacity for work, the employee shall be entitled to a further up to six weeks’ wage.
2. Exception: If a period of 12 months has elapsed since the start of the first incapacity for work due to the same illness, and if the employee is again ill-treated for the same illness, he/she acquires a new entitlement to payment of a maximum of six weeks.

Arrangements for sick pay
There are health insurance premiums for a maximum of 18 months in three years. The period from the start of incapacity to work is calculated, which includes the employer’s remuneration.

If you are then again unable to work because of the same illness, you are only entitled to health insurance again, if you have worked for at least six months in the meantime (or was registered as unemployed for this period.)

In each new employment relationship, the entitlement to remuneration is reinvested for a period of six weeks. So it does not matter how long or how often you were sick in your previous job.

Self-inflicted incapacity to work as a special case
If the employee has himself to blame for the inability to work, the employer does not need to pay. However, the benchmark is very strict; one must have been particularly reckless or deliberate in order to become unemployed. One cannot say flatly what a particularly rash behavior is. In principle, the employer’s obligation to pay is, if he refuses to pay the remuneration, he must prove that the employee has caused the illness upon him or herself.

Examples of careless behavior that lead to a self-inflicted disability:
Drunk driving and causing an accident
Provoke a brawl and be injured
Carry out a particularly dangerous negligence
A negligence which overstretches one’s own force

Frequently there are discussions about sports injuries during leisure time. It would be one’s own fault if one were injured in a dangerous sport. However, the Federal Labor Court has not yet classified any sport as dangerous, not even mountain climbing or skydiving. So the normal principles apply in sport as long as one is not particularly reckless or deliberate, there is a claim to pay in case of illness.

Illness on vacation
If one falls ill during his vacation, every day, when one is unable to work, counts as a working day. On one hand, this entails a claim to remuneration and on the other hand, the illness days are credited back to his vacation account.

Updated: 26/05/2017