I am a tech lead.

I am not leading this guy, because he is in another project. But I take care of some frameworks, and I am a little on the top of his work.

Anyways, the problem is this guy keeps having sick days. When he is working, he performs well, but sometimes, he just feels he does not want to work.

He then send a message to the team, saying that he is sick. I know it is not true, because I saw him the other "sick" day drinking a beer, and some fellows told me he used to do that in another company as well. Other people have also done this calling it the "Lazy-day"

We live and work in Germany. Is there a way of firing him?

He is coming to be part of my team soon, what should I do as his team lead?

  • "What should I do" questions are usually too open ended to be answered well here. What exactly do you want to happen? For him to be fired? For him to stop taking as many sick days?
    – MackM
    Oct 27, 2016 at 21:23
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    Why is it you think there is something you need to do? Oct 27, 2016 at 21:53
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    He is coming to be part of my team soon. But ok guys, thanks. I got the point. HIs problem, his responsability. Thanks folks.
    – Vampire
    Oct 27, 2016 at 22:06
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    You need to ask whether having this person sitting around the office doing nothing benefits either him or the company. Creative work (which I assume from context is what he does) is not like digging ditches or pounding nails. Some people's brain's just don't work on 8-hour shifts - I've solved many a problem while hiking or skiing, after spending many fruitless hours wrestling with it in front of a screen. Bottom line: is this guy's work output worth what you're paying him? If so, stop counting paperclips :-)
    – jamesqf
    Oct 28, 2016 at 4:32
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    This question is being discussed on meta. Oct 28, 2016 at 14:49

2 Answers 2


Do nothing, it's not your job.

If you notice, others will notice too. If he gets his work done to your manager's satisfaction they might not bother too much. But if he does not, it will come around eventually and the manager will react appropriately.

In any case, if you're not the guy's boss, then you're not responsible and shouldn't address it. And whether there is a way of firing that person should be left to HR, the head of the company and possibly the legal counsel, but not to another team's tech lead.

  • 1
    Interestingly enough, He will be his tech lead soon. That's why I got concerned. But it looks like what you guys are saying is that, he can get a sick day for many reasons, including just being stressed, or too tired, and as long as he delivers what's needed, I should care. Fair enough, I got the point.
    – Vampire
    Oct 27, 2016 at 22:45
  • As long as they are using their allocation of days, it seems fair. It generally doesn't really matter how a person uses their days if they are theirs to use.
    – MikeP
    Oct 27, 2016 at 23:54
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    @mike sick days are not vacation days in Germany. Sick days are paid up to six consecutive weeks. Many companies require a visit to the doctor and an official sick note to be given only on the third working day. So it's entirely possible to game the trust of the company. That's unethical and wrong, but has nothing to do with allocated days of anything. I'm saying management might be OK to let it slide if the work is done anyway. On top of that, it's hard to touch sick people. What if it's something mental and the slacking off is just a cover?
    – simbabque
    Oct 28, 2016 at 6:07
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    And when you've called in sick in Germany you are obliged to do everything you reasonably can do to be healthy as soon as possible. I.e. you can go grocery shopping or go for a walk in the park - you can even grab a beer if that isn't a problem for your illness, but you can't stay out late and party. Also, if you're sick because of a back injury, you'd better not be seen hauling firewood around in your backyard, but if you just have diarrhea then the firewood thing and other chores around the house might be ok as long as you don't overdo it. Oct 28, 2016 at 10:13
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    @Sumyrda yes. I remember my mom would be freaked out to go to the supermarket when she was on sick leave when I was a kid because she was afraid to be seen by coworkers although she had a legitimate sick note. Today that's different. If you're sick because too much stress (read: burnout) you can also go to the movies and stuff. The point is that your employer doesn't know what you have. The employer part of the sick note doesn't contain those codes the insurance company gets, and they are not allowed to ask either. So it's all a bit tricky.
    – simbabque
    Oct 28, 2016 at 11:47

I would suggest 3 things:

  • Leave it alone
  • Mind your own business
  • Try to understand why it bothers you when it's not affecting you directly.

If you can't let it go, you could talk to him and say that there have been questions that he's not actually sick and that he might want to be careful since it's been noticed. There's no lie in that since it has been noticed. You don't have to tell him that it's you. Maybe his behavior will change on its own.


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