Germany continues to record high sick leave rates in 2024

Germany continues to record high sick leave rates in 2024

Figures from the first quarter of 2024 are in, and the rate of sick leave taken by employees in Germany continues to be high.

Germany sees 5,8 percent sick leave rate in first quarter of 2024

According to health insurance company DAK-Gesundheit, the high rate of sick leave taken in Germany during 2023 is continuing into 2024.

58 out of every 1.000 people working in Germany were on sick leave every day between the beginning of January and the end of March 2024. This amounted to a 5,8 percent sick leave rate, just 0,1 percentage points less than last year’s rate.

“Following record [sick leave rate] levels in 2022 and 2023, the high absence rates among employees continued in the first quarter of 2024,” DAK-Gesundheit CEO Andreas Storm wrote in a press release. “The hoped-for and expected trend reversal did not materialise in the first months of the year.”

Swiss study shows why taking sick leave is important

While an employee may continue to work through sickness thanks to pressure from management or by self-rationalizing that they're “not letting the team down”, a recent study by HES in Switzerland, found that so-called presenteeism can cost national economies billions each year.

According to the survey, approximately 65 percent of the Swiss population practice so-called “presenteeism”. In a similar study conducted by a German statutory health insurance company AOK, 13,2 percent of AOK customers admitted to working despite a doctor ordering them not to.

Speaking to the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, psychologist Nicole Kopp called presenteeism culture “evil”, as not only does it have a dramatic impact on the physical and mental health of workers, but there is evidence to suggest that it does businesses more harm than good. 

This is because ill workers are more likely to be unproductive and produce work with errors. Ill staff may also infect other staff, making the problem exponentially worse. Experts added that working from home does not improve matters, noting that home workers are the most likely to clock in, even if they are very ill.

Thumb image credit: Svetlana Khutornaia /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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