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HEALTH

Which German industries have been hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis?

The economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis has hit a diverse array of German industries. Here’s where the impacts have been the most severe.

Which German industries have been hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis?
Bavarian state premier Markus Söder inspects an Audi factory. Photo: DPA

The restrictions put in place as part of the coronavirus lockdown measures have had a widespread impact on the German economy. 

Families and people in their thirties have been hit hardest, while 2.1 million people – roughly 2.5 percent of the population – have experienced existential financial losses. 

READ ALSO: Coronavirus in Germany: Which measures are changing this week?

The hardest hit areas have been the industrial and manufacturing hubs of Baden-Württemberg, where 22 percent of companies have cut jobs, and in Bavaria (20 percent).

Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate have been the least impacted, losing only 11 percent of their jobs. 

‘The corona recession’ 

The study, completed by the Institute for Economic Research in Munich, showed that 18 percent of companies had already cut jobs. 

Although a wide variety of industries in Germany have felt the impact of the coronavirus crisis, the restaurant and hospitality sectors have been particularly impacted.

READ: Rise in coronavirus infections spurs concern across Germany

Nicknamed the ‘corona recession’ by some in the German media, the hospitality industry has been hit hardest

In total, 58 percent of the companies in the hospitality and catering industries have had to lay off staff. 

Fifty percent in the hotel industry and 43 percent of travel agents have had to do the same. 

Germany’s famous automobile industry has had to cut 39 percent of jobs. 

READ ALSO: Working in Germany: Where are most jobs in the automotive industry?

A cruise liner off the coast of Rostock in northern Germany. Tourism has been particularly hard hit due to the coronavirus crisis. Image: DPA

Redundancies across all industries

Employment agencies reported an increase in redundancies, with 57 percent saying they had made staff redundant due to the measures. 

Manufacturers of leather goods and shoes (38 percent), printing companies (30 percent) and metal production companies (29 percent) have also indicated an increase. 

Conversely, law firms (five percent), accountants and tax consultants (five percent), construction (three percent) and real estate (two percent) have been hard hit. 

The pharmaceutical industry has recorded no redundancies. 

‘Existential financial losses’: Families and people in their thirties hit the hardest

Estimates from Monday suggest that around 2.1 million people in Germany have experienced “existential financial losses” as a result of the crisis. 

Families and people between the ages of 30 to 39 have been hit the hardest by the crisis, despite the variety of aid programs on offer from the government. 

In addition to those suffering existential financial losses, another 3.5 million people in Germany have experienced ‘significant financial losses’. 

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HEALTH

EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

Due to high Covid infection numbers throughout the summer, it’s now possible to get a sick note from a doctor over the phone again for some illnesses. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

What’s happened?

In spring 2020, German authorities changed the law so that people with a mild upper respiratory tract illness, such as the common cold, were able to get an incapacity to work certificate or AU-Bescheinigung by simply calling and speaking to their GP.

The rule was extended several times and finally reversed on June 1st this year due to falling infection figures. Since then people have had to go back to the practice – or do a video call if the doctor’s office has that system in place – to get a sick note.

Now, due to a decision by the Joint Federal Committee, the regulation has been reintroduced and patients can call their GP again for a sick note.

Can I get a sick note over the phone for any illness?

No. As before, the regulation only applies to patients suffering from a mild upper respiratory tract illness. Though Covid has not explicitly been named in the announcement, it seems that it is intended to be covered by the regulation.

If the doctor is convinced that the patient is unfit for work after a telephone consultation, then they can issue a sick note for up to seven days.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The changes around doctor’s notes in Germany you should know

If the symptoms persist after seven days, the certificate can be extended once more for another week.

Why now?

According to the Chairman of the G-BA, Josef Hecken, the regulation has been introduced now as a response to rising Covid numbers and in anticipation of the cold and flu season in the coming months: “We want to avoid full waiting rooms in doctors’ offices and the emergence of new infection chains,” he said.

The telephone sick leave rule is a simple, proven and uniform nationwide solution for that, he said. The rule is also necessary because video consultation hours are not yet available everywhere.

What else should I know?

The health insurer DAK is calling for telephone sick leave in the case of light respiratory diseases to be made possible on a permanent basis in Germany. DAK’s CEO Andreas Storm said that this should “not always be up for debate, because it has proven itself.” 

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about making a doctor’s appointment in Germany

The social association VdK also welcomed the reintroduction of the rule. The VdK’s President Verena Bentele said that the regulation would help to protect high-risk groups in particular from potential infections.

What are the rules to know about sick notes in Germany?

Germany has a strict system in place. If you are sick, you need to give your employer a Krankmeldung (notification of sickness) before the start of work on the first day (of your illness).

However, you also need to hand in a Krankschreibung (doctor’s note) on the fourth day of your illness. Some employments contracts, however, require you to submit a sick not earlier than the fourth day so check with your boss or HR on that point. 

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