Call in sick: how to call in sick the right way

There are a few rules to follow when calling in sick

Your head is pounding and your nose is running. Work is out of the question today. But attention: With the sick report with the employer you must consider some pitfalls.

Anika Muller works in a supermarket. Her workday starts at 7 a.m., but she is not feeling well today. At 12 o’clock she gets an appointment with her family doctor. Then notify their employer. And the promptly sends her a warning letter. Time and again, disagreements arise between employees and their superiors when they are sick – unfortunately, these disagreements are often settled in court.

When do I have to report sick?

The employee is legally obliged to notify the inability to work and its expected duration. "And this should be done before the start of work if possible", says Michael Engesser, labor lawyer at DGB Rechtsschutz GmbH.

In paragraph 5 of the Continuation of Remuneration Act (EntgFG), this obligation is even enshrined in law. It states: "The employee is obligated to inform the employer of the inability to work and its expected duration immediately to share."

If the sick call is not made as quickly as possible, the employer can issue a warning, as in our example.

Call in sick: How to call in sick?

How you tell your employer that you are sick is not regulated by law. Each company regulates sick leave differently. Some companies insist on Sick leave by phone, Others want you to reporting sick by e-mail. For others, it is sufficient to give your boss an WhatsApp message or SMS write that you cannot work today.

If you are unsure, it is best to call your supervisor and ask him or her how to proceed. Also clarify, where or. Who to call in sick to: In the personnel department? To your supervisor? Or with the managing director?

In general, however, you should already ask this question when you start the job, so that you know what to do in case of illness.

Sample sick note:

If you report sick by e-mail, the text could read something like this:

"Dear Mr. XY,

Unfortunately, I am sick today and cannot come to work. I will go to the doctor now / I have a doctor’s appointment at 10 a.m. and will report as soon as I know how long I will be on sick leave.


In doing so, you fulfill your immediate obligation to report that you will not be at work on that day and at the same time write that you will obtain a medical certificate with the expected duration of the absence.

When is a medical certificate required?

If the illness lasts longer than three days, a certificate of incapacity for work must be submitted. However, the employer can also immediately require a medical certificate, if it is regulated in such a way in the work or collective agreement, reports Engesser. In order to avoid trouble, the lawyer advises to read the provisions in the case of illness again carefully. From 1. October 2021, the certificate of incapacity for work (AU for short) for health insurers will only be available digitally. What employees need to know now explains*.

Corona: Will I be on sick leave if I have to go into quarantine??

Anyone who has to go into officially ordered quarantine because of Corona is only given a sick note by the doctor, if he has symptoms such as cold, cough, etc. has. If, on the other hand, you are symptom-free, the doctor may, according to the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) not issue a certificate of incapacity for work – even if you have tested positive for Covid-19. "In this case, the patient submits the official notice of the order of quarantine to the employer," says the KVB.

Digital sick note replaces yellow sick note from 2021

The familiar yellow sick bill for those with statutory health insurance is to be abolished at the beginning of 2021, writes It shall replaced by a digital certificate and bureaucracy can thus be reduced. The Techniker Krankenkasse has already introduced such a pilot project. In the future, the other health insurance companies should also inform the employer electronically about the beginning and duration of the inability to work. Also the incapacity for work certificate from the doctors to the health insurance companies should from 1. January 2021 only be transmitted digitally.

Online sick leave via WhatsApp: How does it work??

A Hamburg-based startup is offering a new service that allows employees to take a sick note online – without a doctor’s exam. The certificate of incapacity for work will simply be sent by WhatsApp. Although the remote sick leave is valid nationwide and must be recognized by the employer. Nevertheless, many bosses are suspicious. How exactly sick leave via WhatsApp works and whether employers can also reject it, you can find out here.

Survey: How do you behave when you are sick??

Is my boss allowed to check up on me?

In principle, such visits are not prohibited. However, neither the employer nor the person appointed to do so will be able to professionally assess the state of illness and thus shake the medical diagnosis, says Engesser. In addition must in each case the private sphere must be respected. However, the employer can call in the medical service of the health insurance fund if he has doubts about the inability to work.

How long is there continued payment of wages?

The duration of the continued payment of wages, also called continued payment of wages, is Limited to six weeks or 42 calendar days. The prerequisite for this is that the employee has been employed by the company for four weeks without absenteeism. An extension of the continued payment of wages after these six weeks is possible in the case of secondary illnesses, but must be examined in each individual case, reports Engesser. Sick pay can be claimed after the period has expired.

Can I go outside the front door??

"If you are unfit for work, this does not mean that you have to be bedridden", explains labor law expert Michael Engesser. The mere fact that one goes shopping or even for a walk is not yet a reason to refuse continued payment of the salary. "One may do everything that promotes healing", says Engesser. But if, for example, a bricklayer who is actually on sick leave is caught working at another construction site, the employer could refuse to pay him, he said.

Can I be given notice?

Termination due to illness is only possible under certain conditions. If the employee suffers from a long-term illness and there is a prognosis that is clearly negative as far as healing is concerned, he can be dismissed. A typical example would be a herniated disc, if the doctors assume that the damage will not heal despite operations. In the case of frequent short illnesses, the employer can justify the dismissal with a financial loss.

sick during the probationary period

In the probationary period apply relaxed conditions of dismissal. That’s why bosses here theoretically have the option of terminating employees during their probationary period if they fall ill. In practice, however, this is likely to be the case only when new employees

  • especially often,
  • for a longer period of time or even
  • become chronically ill.

Sick to work: Can you work despite a medical certificate?

Of course, you do not have to call in sick despite the doctor’s diagnosis. "The question is whether this is helpful for recovery", Michael Engesser gives to consider. In individual cases, this behavior can also have legal consequences, if, for example, the person concerned has an accident because of his illness.

Even if you get fit again more quickly, may work despite sick leave. If the doctor writes an employee off sick for three days, for example, but he feels healthy again after two days, he is allowed to return to work without risking any disadvantages in terms of insurance coverage. Also a "Gesundschreibung is not necessary for this.

Can I go to the doctor during work??

In principle, the employee may go to the doctor, if not too much working time is lost and the appointment situation allows it. What many people do not know: If an employee has to care for children or close relatives due to illness, he may stay at home.

Sick on vacation

Claims do not expire. If you are sick, you cannot "go on vacation" its. This is what the Federal Labor Court has basically. But this also means the other way round: If you fall ill during your vacation, your vacation will be interrupted- that is sick days are credited back to you as vacation days. And that during the employment relationship in principle "endlessly", after the European Court of Justice and subsequently also the Federal Labor Court have determined that a period of incapacity for work, and does it last so long, cannot lead to the forfeiture of a vacation entitlement.

As a rule, this is conditional on the company receiving (still from vacation) a ärztliches certificate üIf no special agreement has been made for such cases, e.g. notification by telephone, the employer will be notified of the inability to work. The foreign doctor’s certificate must, however, in contrast to the domestic one, clearly show that a distinction has been made between a mere illness and an illness associated with incapacity for work.

Simply "attached" to the previously scheduled end of the vacation However, the sick days may not be. At the very least, that would be grounds for a warning from my employer. By mutual agreement, the extension is of course possible. Otherwise after the return over the appointment for the remaining vacation decidedly.

Sick on vacation – special case abroad

Caution is advised if, while on vacation, you get sick and abroad hold up, because special rules apply to this according to the law. In this case, please proceed like this:

  • report sick to the employer immediately
  • tell him how long you expect to be ill
  • give the address at the place of residence
  • and everything "in the fastest possible way of transmission" (The costs for this are borne by the employer)

Are you statutory health insurance assured? In this case, you must also notify your health insurance company as soon as possible about your inability to work and the expected duration – likewise, if the illness lasts longer.

If you return to Germany after your vacation, you are obliged to inform your employer and the health insurance company immediately.

Faking illness: What happens if I take the day off?

You are not sick at all, but would rather stay at home? Not a good idea, because if you are caught taking sick leave, you are threatened with termination without notice. After all, you are cheating yourself of continued pay, which is intended for the case of illness. And that is called Fraud against the employer evaluated. *Mercury.en and are an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.
Read more: This is how your boss finds out that you are skipping work.

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