10 Questions about calling in sick: how to behave correctly in the event of illness

10 questions to ask when calling in sick This is what you need to be aware of when calling in sick

Especially in winter, many are quickly hit with a cold. Source: dpa

Especially in winter it hits many quickly with a cold.

There are many questions when you call in sick. When do I sign out and how, may I send in the substitute, go to the cinema or take a vacation?? What will change with the digital sick note? An expert provides information.

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1. Notification of sickness: These deadlines apply
The sick note is not to be confused with the doctor’s certificate of incapacity to work, which is only due after a few days. When reporting sickness, "in good time" is synonymous with "immediately. "The employee is obliged to notify the employer immediately of the inability to work and its expected duration," the Continuation of Remuneration Act states in this regard.

A certificate of incapacity for work – the so-called yellow certificate – is necessary if you are incapacitated for work for more than three calendar days. Attention: The law does not speak of working days here, the weekend counts as well. So if you fall ill on Friday, you have to see your doctor on Monday. The physician certifies the inability to work and its expected duration. The certificate must be presented at the latest on the following working day.

According to the law, the employer is entitled to demand the presentation of the medical certificate earlier. This may be covered, for example, in the employment contract or the company agreement.

2. Who do I call in sick to and how do I do it??
Many an employee is faced with the fundamental question: to whom do I report sick at all – to the direct superior or to the personnel administration? Here the company. "The employer must communicate who in the company is specifically responsible for taking sick leave," explains Till Bender, legal protection secretary at DGB Rechtsschutz GmbH, which provides legal advice and litigation representation for members of the Confederation of German Trade Unions. This is the person you should stick to when you’re sick, too. According to Bender, if you let another colleague know, you run the risk of the colleague not passing on the sick note.

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Normally, a phone call is sufficient when calling in sick, according to the expert. However, an email or text message can be beneficial in certain cases. "If you’re worried that your employer is looking for excuses to issue a warning and later dismiss you, you should make sure you have written proof," advises Bender.

3. When is a new sick note due?
The doctor has written down in the first certificate the expected duration of the inability to work. If the employee is sick longer, a new certificate is necessary. There is often a lack of clarity as to exactly when it must be obtained. In the law there is no information about this. Let’s assume that the first sick note expires on a Sunday. Is a visit to the doctor on Monday sufficient or do you have to take care of it on the previous Friday??

"Unlike in the past, it is sufficient if the certificate of incapacity for work is issued on the following day. So in the example on Monday," Bender explains. Until recently, the employee had to go to the doctor on Friday. However, this rule was not very plausible. Therefore, the legislator has eliminated this "sick pay trap".

A sufferer also does not have to wait until the last day to see a doctor. According to the expert, the certificate may be issued before the previous certificate of incapacity for work expires: "The decisive factor is that the doctor can make a prognosis on that day as to how long the incapacity for work will continue to exist."

4. What happens if a yellow slip is submitted too late?
"If the inability to work is not proven, the employer can refuse to continue to pay for this period," explains Bender. "After the expiry of the six-week period, this applies accordingly to sick pay from the health insurance fund. Only when incapacity for work is certified again, the claim exists."

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However, with overcrowded doctor’s offices or delays in the mail, it can be easy for the "yellow slip" to not reach your employer in time. According to Bender, employees do not have to fear any consequences if they are not at fault. "If in doubt, I would talk to the doctor’s office that they fax the certificate in advance, then it should not be a problem," advises the DGB legal protection secretary.

5. What is allowed during sick leave?
Those who are on sick leave are not necessarily confined to the house. The basic rule is that the person concerned must not do anything that impedes recovery. So which (leisure) activities are allowed or even beneficial to health depends on the individual case. Jogging or going to the movies may be good for burnout, but are too stressful for a patient with a high fever.

But how do you protect yourself in case of doubt?? "If you fear that a certain planned activity is harmful, you should definitely discuss this with your doctor," recommends Bender. "A written confirmation is not required, since the employer is not informed of the illness. He cannot therefore assess the relationship between illness and activity."

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