German employees took less sick leave in 2021 than the previous four years
Employees working in Germany took fewer days off due to illness in 2021, than in any of the previous three years, including the coronavirus pandemic. Experts believe that the main reason for this is that fewer people are taking time off for common colds.
Number of sick days in Germany falls in 2021
An evaluation Techniker Krankenkasse, a statutory health insurance company based in Hamburg, has revealed that, in 2021, employed Germans took fewer sick days on average than in the previous three years. In 2021, employees lost an average of 14,5 days, whereas employees lost an average of 15,1 days in 2020, 15,4 days in 2019 and 15,5 days in 2018.
However, the total number of employee sick days due to coronavirus did rise in 2021. Last year, 37.625 days were lost due to COVID - over 10.000 days more than in 2020 (when employees took a total of 26.833 days off due to COVID).
Techniker Krankenkasse analysed data from around 5,5 million employees for the evaluation. In Germany, an official sick note from a GP or doctor must be sent to an employee’s health insurance provider if they are off for more than three days.
Mental health the leading reason for sick days
The restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus were also extremely effective at reducing the spread of other viruses like the common cold. In fact, the general decline in employee sick days is largely attributed to fewer people getting sick from colds. According to Techniker Krankenkasse, their clients only lost 1,64 days to colds in 2021. In 2020, TK clients lost 2,30 days and 2,37 days before the pandemic in 2019.
The evaluation also revealed the most common reasons for sick leave in 2021. For the fourth year in a row, mental health was the most common reason for sick leave (21,8 percent). This was followed by musculoskeletal problems (18,4 percent) and respiratory problems (11,3 percent).