Number of sick days in Germany reached record high in 2018

Number of sick days in Germany reached record high in 2018

Number of sick days in Germany reached record high in 2018

People working in Germany have never taken so many days of sick leave as they did in 2018. According to a new report, the main reason for the spike was a major flu outbreak that year - but it also fits with a trend of rising absenteeism over the past 10 years. 

Sick leave on the up in Germany since 2008

The number of days lost to sickness reached a new high in 2018, the latest health report from the health insurance company BKK has demonstrated. On average, each employee in Germany stayed home for 18,5 days in 2018 due to illness. That was 0,8 days more than in the previous year.

While the study cited a “pronounced flu outbreak” as the main reason for the record value, it also noted that the rate of absenteeism has been steadily rising over the past 10 years, with the exception of a few minor fluctuations. 

In 2008, the average number of sick days taken by each employee in Germany was 12,6 days per year, meaning that the figure has increased by an incredible 46,8 percent in the space of 10 years. 

Absenteeism highest in Saxony-Anhalt

In a nationwide comparison, Saxony-Anhalt is the leader of the pack, with an average of 24,4 sick days taken per employee per year. Thuringia and Brandenburg are also significantly above average when it comes to absenteeism, taking an average of 24,2 sick days per year. Workers in Berlin take an average of 21,1 days - 2,6 more than the national average. 

Absenteeism was lowest in Baden-Württemberg (15,5 days), Hamburg (16,0) and Bavaria (16,6), which coincidentally are the states that command some of the highest salaries in Germany

According to the report, more than half of all employees in Germany were on sick leave at least once in 2018 (55,9 percent). 32,9 percent had at least two sick days. Two-thirds of all incapacity cases lasted a calendar week or less. In 4,4 percent of cases, those affected were absent for more than six weeks. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

Read more



Leave a comment