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Sick days increase as economy improves

Sick days increase as economy improves
Photo: DPA

The number of Germans who call in sick to work has risen significantly since last year, new figures showed on Monday.

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According to Health Ministry information obtained by daily Die Welt, German workers missed an average of 3.66 percent, or 2.1 days of the time they were meant to be working in the first quarter of 2010.

The figures, which registered public health insurance records for sick notes written by doctors, marks an increase of 12 percent over 2009 figures, the paper said.

Labour market experts told the paper that while seasonal influences may have contributed to the increase in illness, the improving economy was also likely a factor. Workers are less likely to miss work for illness during a recession because they fear for their jobs, the paper reported.

Women missed slightly more working hours than men, taking an average of 3.85 percent of this time convalescing, while men took about 3.49 percent.

Meanwhile most doctors’ notes were written on Mondays, with the most common complaints being injury, psychological issues, respiratory complaints, and muscular-skeletal problems.

The number of psychological problems has nearly doubled since 1990, the paper said.

But overall the amount of time that Germans took off for illness has dropped about 20 percent since 1995, a development that the paper attributed to changes in employment.

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