Berlin (dts news agency) – Due to the significantly increased sick leave, companies in Germany had to spend an additional double-digit billion amount on continued wage payments to their sick employees last year. This is the result of an as yet unpublished study by the German Economic Institute (IW), about which the “Rheinische Post” reports in its Saturday edition.
According to this, the continued payment of wages in the event of illness in 2021 will cost around 77 billion euros. “Due to the increased sick leave, a significant increase can be expected for 2022,” says the study. It can be cautiously estimated that “employers in Germany recently had to spend an additional double-digit billion amount to continue paying their sick employees,” according to the IW. Overall, the continued payment of wages in 2022 will cost at least 87 billion euros, if not more than 90 billion. According to the study, significantly more respiratory diseases in particular have caused sick leave to skyrocket in the past year.
In a monthly sample of the umbrella organization of company health insurance companies (BKK), the development of sick leave among the employed members is documented promptly. According to this, the sick leave in 2022 increased by around 30 percent compared to the previous year. On average, the companies lacked around six percent of all employees. In previous years, it was always significantly less than five percent.
“If you break down the sick leave rate into the contribution of individual types of illness, it becomes clear that respiratory diseases in particular have contributed to this development with an annual average of 1.35 percentage points. The share of this diagnostic group in the total sick leave was 23 percent last year and thus more than twice as high as 2021”, according to the IW. Medically, the increase in respiratory diseases can be explained by the contact restrictions and the obligation to wear masks during the Corona years, which weakened people’s immune systems. At the same time, the shortage of medicines has recently become increasingly noticeable, above all because of the “extraordinarily high demand”. “An early increase in inventory management at different stages of the production chain as well as an early warning system, stress tests for supply chains and reserve capacities in production could have helped,” writes the IW. “In the long term, the technological sovereignty at the location is particularly decisive – i.e. the production of medicines in Germany and the EU.”