How to behave when you feel sick in Germany as an Expat?
If you don’t feel good, you shouldn’t worry too much about telling your boss or the HR department, that you cannot work. Most companies are considering the well-being of their employees. Normally you can stay home without a medical notification of illness for three days. But my experiences are as follows: some companies kindly request one, even though they officially don’t have the permission by the employment law. Me, I personally prefer going to the doctor to get a medical certificate if my illness takes more than one day, because I just feel better that way. And it’s the safer way 😉
What to do the first day of absence?
The day you’re getting sick, just give your company a call and advice them that you are not coming. Commonly you already tell them for how long you’ll be probably off from work. So if it takes more than three days you need to go to see the doctor.
If you don’t need a specialist I would suggest, that you find a doctor in your surroundings. Most do speak English, so they are able to treat you. If it’s something more unique you could even take the time to look up some words and write the translation down on a paper to take it with you. That would probably be very helpful for a simplified communication.
After receiving the medical advice, the notification of illness and maybe a prescription for a remedy, please remember to call your company once again to tell them, for how long you’re going to stay home.
What to do with the yellow paper (Gelber Schein)?
After the consultation you’ll probably receive the notification of illness. If you’re insured by a statutory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) you’ll receive the yellow paper (Gelber Schein) with two sites, one has to be sent to your company, the other one to your statutory health insurance.
Generally, if it’s just a mild illness as a flue/headache/(soft) ill-feeling, you’ll get the certificate until Wednesday if you go on Monday or Tuesday and until Friday if you go there on Wednesday or Thursday. Be aware, on Wednesday and Friday the doctors are opened only in the morning.
By the way here are some typical German cures:
When you have a flu, many Germans only stay at home in bed or on the sofa, drink lots of tea, especially camomile tea (Kamillentee), and eat rusk (Zwieback) and/or salted sticks (Salzstangen). And if you have stomach paines, many recommend drinking Coca Cola. What do you think about these remedies? And what is a typical cure you give in your home country?
Get well soon! Gute Besserung!