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The Employer’s Guide to Sick Leave: Types, Regulations, and Benefits


Sick leave allows your employees to take time off work to focus on their health and well-being. And it can have numerous benefits for both you and your employee.

Sick leave gives your employees the time and assistance they need to recover from an illness or accident, which can help them avoid long-term health issues and lessen their stress.

From your standpoint, giving your employees the support they need during their sick days can help to increase overall employee happiness, which can have a good effect on workplace morale and culture.

What is this article about?

    • The main types of sick leave
        • Personal Sick Leave

        • Family Sick Leave

        • Short-Term Disability Leave

    • Regulations and compliance
        • Legal Requirement

        • The role of the employer

        • Potential penalties

    • Benefits of providing assistance during sick leave
        • Improve health and well-being

        • Improve satisfaction and reduce turnover

        • Improve overall productivity and company culture

The main Types of Sick Leave

Sick leave is a crucial component of employee health and wellness, therefore it’s critical for employers to understand the many kinds of sick leave that are offered. There are various ways to take sick time off, and each one has its own set of guidelines.

Understanding the various types of sick leave can help you give your staff the support and benefits they require while also ensuring that you are in compliance with local laws and regulations.

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Personal Sick Leave

Eligibility requirements

When an employee is unable to work because of their own illness or accident, they are eligible for personal sick leave. Employees who qualify for personal sick leave must have the following:

    • Workers must be covered by a long-term or short-term employment contract.

    • Workers must have worked for you for a minimum of four weeks. Depending on certain regulations and agreements with employees, this could change.

    • Employees are required to present their employer with documentation of their illness, typically in the form of a doctor’s certificate.

    • Employees are required to notify their employer as soon as they become ill and to provide any appropriate medical documentation.

Length of Leave

Depending on the illness’s severity and the employee’s job situation, the length of the sick leave varies. Employees continue to get their full wages from their company during this time.

Benefits and Compensation

Employees who are unable to work because of their own illness or accident are provided with a variety of perks and compensation through personal sick leave:

    • Employees continue to receive their full salary from their employer.

    • Employees are entitled to continue their health insurance coverage.

    • Regardless of the cause of the employee’s illness or injury, they are protected from termination.

    • Employees have the option of returning to their current company in their prior role or one that is comparable. Employers are barred from treating workers unfairly because of a sickness or accident, and they are required to make reasonable adjustments to facilitate a return to work.

Family Sick Leave

Eligibility requirements

Employees who need to take time off work to care for a sick family member are eligible for family sick leave. Employees must fulfill the following criteria in order to be eligible:

    • The sick family member must be a spouse, child, parent, or another close relative who requires care.

    • The sick family member’s illness or injury must be documented by the employee.

    • A minimum of six months must have passed since the employee started working for your company.

    • A maximum of 10 days of family sick leave may be taken by employees each year.

Length of leave

A maximum of 10 days of family sick leave may be taken by employees each year. Based on the circumstances, this time can be taken in a single continuous period or over several distinct days. Depending on the extent of the illness or injury and the employee’s need to care for the unwell family member, the exact period of absence may change.

You should be aware that local rules and regulations may affect the length of leave.

Benefits and Compensation

Employees can use family sick leave to take time off of work to care for a sick relative. The benefits and compensation for family sick leave include:

    • An allotted amount of paid days off for family sick leave is granted to employees.

    • During this period, employees are protected from termination.

    • The sum paid for family sick leave is not subject to income tax or social security contributions because it is regarded as a taxable benefit.

    • The employee’s health insurance coverage continues to be in place, giving both the employee and the ailing family member continuing access to medical care.

    • Employees get the flexibility and support they need to care for a sick family member.

Family sick leave offers employees and their families a vital perk that helps them balance the demands of work and family life.

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Short-Term Disability Leave

Eligibility requirements

Employees are entitled to short-term disability leave (Krankengeld) if they are unable to work as a result of illness or accident. The following criteria must be met to qualify for this leave:

    • The employee must have been contributing to the German health insurance system and be currently employed.

    • The employee must wait six weeks before becoming eligible for short-term disability compensation. The employee must be unable to work during this period due to illness or injury, and they must provide the insurance company documentation of their medical condition.

    • Due to their illness or injury, the employee had to miss at least four weeks of work.

    • To verify the diagnosis and the anticipated length of their disability, the employee must present a medical certificate from a doctor.

    • Short-term disability leave is typically paid for up to 78 weeks.

Length of leave

Several factors affect how long a short-term disability leave will last. The length of the leave could be inferred from the following details:

    • From the seventh week of illness, short-term disability leave is normally paid for up to 78 weeks.

    • The employee’s short-term disability leave may be extended for a total of 104 weeks if their medical condition necessitates further time for recuperation.

    • The short-term disability leave can be changed in accordance with the employee’s ability to resume work on a part-time basis.

    • The employee may be qualified for a rehabilitation leave, which gives them more time off work for therapy or medical care.

The duration of short-term disability leave is created to enable employees to receive the support they need and to return to work as soon as they are able. The precise duration of short-term disability leave will depend on the person’s health.

Benefits and Compensation

The benefits and compensation for short-term disability leave include:

    • Financial assistance to help make up a portion of the employee’s lost wages while they are away from work.

    • The employee’s health insurance is still in effect while they are on short-term disability leave.

    • Employees are protected from termination during the period of their leave.

    • Workers who are on short-term disability leave are given the time and resources they need to rehabilitate and return to work as soon as they are able.

Regulations and Compliance

Overview of the legal requirements for sick leave

The Federal Sickness Benefits Act governs sick leave in Germany (SGB V). If an employee is unable to work due to a sickness or injury, they are all entitled to sick pay.

A minimum of 78% of the employee’s regular pay must be provided for up to 6 weeks of illness-related absences from work, with the first 3 days being unpaid. After six weeks, their health insurance will pay sick pay up to a maximum of 78 weeks and 78% of the employee’s salary.

Within three days of being absent, the employee must give the employer a medical certificate. The employer may insist that the worker gets a second opinion from a company physician.

What part do companies play in adhering to sick leave rules and laws?

The employer must make sure they offer the required assistance to workers who are unable to do so due to illness or injury. The first six weeks of the employee’s absence must be covered by sick pay, which must be at least 78% of the employee’s regular pay. Employers are also responsible for giving the employee the time off they require to recuperate from their sickness. Additionally, employers are responsible for maintaining a secure and healthy workplace.

Employers are required to adhere to all applicable laws and rules governing sick leave and make sure they are current with any changes to the law. There may be fines and legal repercussions if the legal requirements for sick leave are not followed.

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Potential penalties for non-compliance with regulations

Penalties for breaking the law can take many different forms. The kind and extent of the non-compliance will determine the precise penalty.

The German government takes adherence to sick leave requirements very seriously, and businesses that disobey the law risk paying hefty fines. The nature and seriousness of the noncompliance will determine the fine amount, which may be significant.

Legal action is another potential consequence of non-compliance. An employee may file a lawsuit if they believe their employer has violated their rights or has not treated them fairly.

Non-compliance with sick leave regulations can also result in reputational damage. Employers who are perceived as breaking the law or treating workers unfairly risk harming their reputation and finding it harder to recruit and retain employees.

Benefits of providing assistance during sick leave

Improve your employees’ health and well-being

Supporting workers while they are on sick leave can improve their health and well-being. Your staff members can rest and recover when they are fully and securely able to take time off from work, which can enhance their general health and well-being.

It contributes to reducing the likelihood that illnesses may spread among coworkers. When employees risk infecting their coworkers, that can lead to a cycle of illness and absenteeism.

Employee morale and job satisfaction can both be enhanced by working in a setting where taking a sick day is acceptable. Employees are more likely to be happy, engaged, and more productive in their jobs if they feel valued and supported by their employers.

Improve your employees’ satisfaction and reduce turnover

Employees are better able to rest and recover, which can enhance their general health and well-being when they feel free to take time off of work due to illness or accident. This may result in a higher level of job satisfaction and a more upbeat outlook on the workplace.

It shows staff members that you care about their health and happiness, which can boost morale and foster a sense of job stability. Your staff members are less likely to experience stress and burnout, which can reduce absenteeism and increase job satisfaction. They are also more likely to feel like they have the resources and assistance they need to manage their health.

When employees feel that you support their health and well-being, they are more likely to stay with the company and feel committed to their work. This can reduce turnover and improve the long-term stability of the workforce.

Improve overall productivity and company culture

Employees who are ill when they come to work run the danger of infecting their coworkers, which can start a cycle of illness and absence. You can lessen the spread of sickness and maintain a healthy, productive workplace by fostering an open work environment where employees feel free to take sick time.

Employees will feel supported and respected by you if you foster this open atmosphere. Their level of productivity and job satisfaction will likely increase because they’ll probably be happier and more enthusiastic about their work.

Last thoughts and suggestions for you as you navigate sick leave

There are certain important factors to keep in mind that might help make navigating the legal framework for sick leave easier:

    • The methods for certifying sick leave, how to disclose and document illness, and under what conditions sick leave may be extended should all be made clear in your sick leave rules.

    • It’s critical that staff members feel at ease and safe contacting you with queries or concerns about taking a necessary sick break. Your staff members shouldn’t ever believe that taking a sick day will have harmful consequences. The message that the well-being and health of employees are a top priority is sent by fostering an open and supportive work environment.

This is also Humanoo’s mission: to help you and your company build a better work environment for your employees. If you want to know more about our product you can book a demo with us or take a look at our features.