Table of contents
What are requirements for terminations due to illness?
Employers may only dismiss employees for certain socially justified reasons if they are under protection against dismissal (§ 1 KSchG). In this context, illness may represent a justifiable reason. However, in order for a termination due to illness to be legally permissible, employers must comply with the following three requirements.
1. Negative health prognosis
In the event of a negative health prognosis, further, future illnesses of the same extent as before are to be expected at the time of termination. In practice, a distinction is made between 4 cases that must be considered separately:
» It is often difficult for laypersons to determine whether all conditions for termination due to illness are met. It is therefore advisable to seek professional help and have your dismissal checked in detail.
2. Considerable damage to the employer
The expected absence from work leads to a considerable impairment of business operations or to economic losses for the employer. This involves for example the following cases:
3. Weighing of interests
Here it must be examined whether the employer can no longer reasonably be expected to tolerate the impairment. For this, two conditions must be examined:
Other means than termination
Continued employment is considered reasonable if there are measures other than termination by which damage to the employer can be remedied. Those remedies may involve
In order to evaluate potential measures, employers are obliged in practice to carry out an integration management.
Interest of the employee
The level of the employee's interest in continuing employment depends on the potential damage caused by the loss of the job. Various social criteria must be taken into account, such as
Apart from meeting the 3 requirements for terminations due to illness, employers must meet further standards for lawful termination. These include in particular
compliance with formal requirements for the notice: adequate notice period, sufficient justification and written form,
if applicable, compliance with the special protection against dismissal for special groups of employees: persons in voluntary military service, pregnant women up to 4 months after giving birth, employees on parental leave, parents on part-time work within the first 14 months of the child's life, severely disabled persons, employees on nursing leave or temporarily unable to work due to an acute nursing situation or members of the works council, and
if applicable, consultation of the works council.
» Find out if you have been terminated wrongfully & subject your termination to our free and non-binding initial check. Start your check now.
What is integration management & why is it required?
Although employers are not obliged to integration management, it is practically impossible to get around. Without integration management, it is hardly possible to sufficiently prove that there are no other measures than termination.
If an employee is incapacitated for more than six weeks continuously or repeatedly within a year, the employer must offer the sick employee integration management. If the employee agrees, the two must evaluate together,
in order to continue the employment.
In the process, measures to be implemented are worked out, which are then documented in an official declaration. Such measures concern, for example
Severance pay & continued employment: How can terminations be contested?
Employers have to comply with strict regulations in order to be permitted to dismiss employees due to illness. This is why terminations are often unlawful. In the case of wrongful termination, you can challenge the termination and receive either severance pay or continue the employment. Your prospects depend on your individual circumstances. It is therefore advisable to seek professional support examining your termination.
To contest your termination, you must file an action for protection against dismissal with the labour court within 3 weeks of receiving the notice. If you fail to do so, even unjustified termination will be considered effective. So should act quickly after your termination.
Some employers also try to negotiate a termination agreement with the employee to avoid dismissal protection cases. With a termination agreement, you agree with your employer to terminate the employment amicably. This can have detrimental effects for you.
Disadvantages of termination agreements
For one thing, the employment office could assume that you have voluntarily given up your job and put a stop on your unemployment benefits. In addition, you could be left with less severance pay than you could have received.
» So don't be tempted by quick severance payments and don't sign a termination agreement immediately. Ensure your interests are properly protected & subject your cases to our free and non-binding initial check. Start your check now.