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Southwestern workers take less sick leave

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Southwestern workers take less sick leave
Photo: DPA
14:27 CEST+02:00
Germans from the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg are the least likely to claim sick leave, and when they do their time off is shorter than in other regions, a new study revealed on Thursday.

Residents of the prosperous state get doctor-sanctioned sick leave on average of 2.8 percent of the year, according to the annual survey by the health insurer Deutsche Angestellten Krankenkasse (DAK), undercutting the national average of 3.4 percent.

People there also tend to make a faster recovery, taking an annual average of 10.5 days of sick leave, compared to 11.3 days in other regions, said the survey cited by regional daily Tagblatt.

The study also suggests that the rate of annual sick leave has returned to pre-crisis levels, when fears of job loss in the recession kept many people on the job despite their ailments.

Back or muscular problems were the number one cause of sick leave, followed by respiratory illnesses and localised injuries, together forming half of all doctors notes handed out to DAK members, the paper said.

Thirteen percent of all sick leave was due to psychiatric illnesses, a significant increase that put the problem in fourth place.

The study paid particular attention to the problems suffered by younger members of the work force, finding that they are more frequently ill but bounce back faster. Some 98 percent of those starting out on the career ladder visit the doctor at least once a year, the study found.

One fifth of the young workers surveyed stated that they found their jobs “very demanding” or “very stressful,” with short-term contracts and shift work allegedly creating more health problems, the paper said.

Workers are legally required to get a sick note from their insurer if they take more than three days off work in Germany, where health insurance is a legal requirement.

DAK, the fourth largest insurance provider in the southwest, surveyed a total of 3,000 participants for the study.

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