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My sickness allowance is not enough to survive and I want to go back to work after my sick note ends. However, the doctor is saying I need more time to recover. Is it ok to go back to work as soon as the sick note ends when I am still in recovering phase?

My current employer knows my ICD code. My illness recovery time is a very slow process, will it create a problem ? Should I listen to the doctor and recover fully? It may take some months/year, but I don't have any pain or discomfort.

I want to know the consequences before I make a decision.

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    "Should I listen to the doctor?" Yes. – Ertai87 Jan 15 at 15:53
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    @NeedHelp I seriously doubt they can fire you for being sick... – DarkCygnus Jan 15 at 16:45
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    krankgeld (sickness benefits) – Need Help Jan 15 at 16:56
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    Krankengeld should be roughly 70% of your normal salary. That's certainly no reason to party, but why is that not survivable? – nvoigt Jan 15 at 17:09
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    I have some credits repayments in the bank and private insurances linked, I don't know what to do I paused all private insurances but the bank is saying credit repayment cannot be stopped. :( – Need Help Jan 15 at 17:16
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My sickness allowance is not enough to survive

With paid sick leave shorter than 6 weeks at 100% and extended paid sick leave around 70% salary indefinitely, that is exceptionally bad financial planning. Sorry to be blunt, but if you are so much in debt that you cannot survive on 70% of your salary you have a problem. And it's not your workplace. Your financial planning is gambling on you being lucky and not getting sick or injured.

I want to go back to work after my sick note ends. However, the doctor is saying I need more time to recover. Is it ok to go back to work as soon as the sick note ends when I am still in recovering phase?

Matter of fact you have to go back to work when you sick note ends. You cannot just decide to take sick leave yourself. However, if your doctor says that recovery is needed, they should give you another sick note as long as it's needed. That is up to your doctor to decide. For some kinds of injuries they might not give you an absolute paper, but rather a list of things you are not allowed to do. For example not lift heavy objects above 10 kilos if you had a back injury. If your employer can accommodate that (lets say you work in a warehouse but they give you an administrative office job for the duration) then you have to work, if not (lets say you work in construction with no alternative) then you are on paid sick leave. So go ask your doctor what they meant by "recovery" and how that works with sick notes.

My current employer knows my ICD code.

They probably won't care. Since it is not relevant to how they treat you or all the paperwork involved, I doubt they even bothered to look up what it means.

My illness recovery time is a very slow process, will it create a problem?

No, as long as you have proper documentation and communicate to all involved parties, that should not be a problem. People get sick. That's not nice, but really not that much of an exception either. Companies deal with it regularly.

Should I listen to the doctor and recover fully?

Yes.

now I am really worried that they will take my sickness as a reason and fire me

They are not allowed to. Period. Nobody here can guarantee you that they won't try, the same way that we cannot guarantee you that you will not be in a car crash or be robbed or be framed for a double murder you never committed. But it's highly unlikely. I mean they don't pay you while you are out sick, that is on your health insurance, so what would even be their motive to fire you? You cost them nothing, the only thing they have to gain from firing you is a lawsuit that they are bound to lose. You being an expat, I guess they went to great length to hire you in the first place so it's double unlikely they will want to get rid of you. Firing you for being sick would be illegal and stupid. Not saying that combination does not exist, but it should be super rare.

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    +1 also ask your doctor and HR about a reintegration plan. It'll let you start with working a few hours a week and build up slowly to your full workload. I've seen people use this kind of plan after long-term illnesses or after serious injuries. – Sumyrda - Reinstate Monica Jan 16 at 3:44
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    @nick012000 But they still have that opportunity, even without firing anybody. – nvoigt Jan 16 at 6:17
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    @nick012000 And illegal in Germany. That's what I meant with lawsuit they are bound to lose. They can hire a temporary replacement. They can hire an additional worker. But they cannot fire him and they can only lay him off if they lay off the newer worker first. – nvoigt Jan 16 at 7:34
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    @nick012000 Where is the benefit exactly? They can get an additional worker without the lawsuit for the same amount of money. Have you seen that happen in Germany, that a company fires a sick worker? – nvoigt Jan 16 at 7:41
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    @nick012000 you seem to have a very US centric point of view. I'm not German myself, but French, which labour laws are way closer to Germany's than the US. We have the same laws when, if a worker is ill, you can only hire a temp or open a new position. If you were to break this law, the cost would be TREMENDOUS (full salary to the worker + damage compensation to the worker + fine to the state). Furthermore, workplace tribunals tend to side with the employees (75% of the cases won in France) and cases such as those are almost always lost by the employer. – Aserre Jan 16 at 10:00
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Health is one of the most important thing human being can have and if doctor insists on doing something my advise would be to do everything within your possibilities to comply.

Even if you'd have to leave this particular job. Don't you ever stick for any job if your health is at stake - it's just that easy. Of course there are some extreme exceptions (like one need money to cover medical costs for someone else for instance - but I really hope your case is not exceptional in that aspect.

I suggest you to do following:

  • Negotiate. Explain your situation but make it clearly that you just can not work and discuss what are the options. For instance they can pay you some smaller amount of your salary and when you'll be back to work to substract this payments from your regular salary.
  • If extended paid sick leave is not an option try to at least secure your workplace - say, you promise to be back in N months. Than if you don't have money at all - borrow from friends and relatives and/or try to save some money somehow - for instance - live with parents for a couple of months (thus not paying rent).

The this is me myself was stupid enough to ignore what doctor says in favor of meeting deadlines (which ironically I was in charge of defining - this makes this even more stupid) - this was a huge mistake which I regret for years.

  • I am really worried about my carrier can I ignore my doctor and go to work after sick note ends – Need Help Jan 19 at 21:07
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Should I listen to the doctor and recover fully?

If you want to recover, of course.

If you need more time to recover you could ask the doctor to provide you with some medical letter or form, where it specifies that you need X time off for recovery.

Try asking for more sick leave, and explain your situation. You can show them the letter in case they are reluctant to do so.

Seems that this situation should not be taken lightly, so I also suggest you consider consulting a lawyer to be reassured on what your rights are on a case like this.

  • I am really worried about my carrier can I ignore my doctor and go to work after sick note ends – Need Help Jan 19 at 21:07

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