Germany saw its highest amount of sick leave taken by employees last year since before reunification in 1990, according to a report released this week by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
IfW’s early calculations indicate that last year’s wave of colds, flus, and Covid-19 likely cost the economy anywhere between 27 and 42 billion euros in 2022.
German companies normally lose around 68 hours per year per employee to sick leave, or just over eight working days. Last year, that jumped to an average of 91 hours per employee – or over 11 working days.
However, there is some cause for optimism. IfW says that, provided 2022 was a blip when it comes to sick leave due to an extraordinarily strong cold and flu season, 2023’s economic forecasts might actually end up turning out a little better than first thought – assuming this year’s sick leave counts return to normal.
That means 2023 economic growth in Germany should be higher than in 2022, in which German GDP grew by 1.8 percent. Without the record sick leave, IfW estimates it would have grown around 2.5 percent, which the country may see in 2023.
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