Sick note

The employee is obliged to notify their employer of the incapacity for work and its expected duration “as soon as possible”. If the incapacity for work lasts beyond the date first notified, the employee is obliged to submit a further sick note (follow-up certificate).

The notification may be made in writing or orally.

If the employee falls ill during leave or on days when they do not normally work (e.g. in the case of part-time employment) and it is foreseeable that the incapacity will last beyond the non-working time, they must also report sick as soon as possible.

Obligation to provide evidence

In addition, the employee has the so-called obligation to provide evidence by means of a medical certificate (AU: Arbeitsunfähigkeitsbescheinigung [certificate of incapacity for work]) if the incapacity for work lasts longer than three calendar days. Caution: In some employment contracts a shorter period is also agreed.

Electronic sick note by a German doctor:

The “yellow slip” for reporting incapacity for work (AU) will be digitised bit by bit from October 2021. The planned changes to the certificate of incapacity for work in detail:

  • From October 2021, the data of the AU will be transmitted electronically to the health insurance company. In the future, it will no longer be the insured persons themselves who have to inform the health insurance company of their incapacity to work but the German doctors.
  • Starting July 2022, the forwarding of data to the employer will also take place only digitally. Starting July 2022, it will no longer be the doctors but the health insurers who send the AU in electronic form (eAU) to the employers.

When cross-border workers go to a Belgian doctor:

If a Belgian doctor writes you sick, it is sufficient in practice to ask the Belgian doctor to issue an AU without diagnosis and an AU for the health insurance company with diagnosis.

You should therefore make a copy for yourself and in any case a copy for your health insurance company. Belgian doctors do not inform the German health insurance company. Please remember: If you report sickness to a doctor in Belgium, remember to also send a copy of the sick note to your German health insurance company. This notification must be made within one week. If it is not sent or sent late, you may lose your sickness allowance!