Bavarian rhon advertises its expertise as a health region: people hope to find healing in five spas, three of which are even state spas. But it is the health region itself that is suffering from illness: according to a study, nowhere in bavaria is the sickness rate as high as in the districts of bad kissingen and bad bruckenau: 4.2 percent of employees here are ill on average, which means 15.3 days of absence per year.
12,500 insured as a basis
The german employees' health insurance fund (DAK) evaluates the sickness reports of its insured every year. Around 860,000 in bavaria, around 18,000 in the two bavarian rhon counties. "Of these, around 12,500 are entitled to sick pay", says wolfgang flaig, head of services for the region. The study does not include anyone who does not submit a certificate of incapacity to work to the DAK, such as pensioners or mini-jobbers.
KG and NES counties were already top in 2011: "unfortunately, we retained the negative first place", is the most important result of the study (see info box). There is a clear trend: "the number of sick cases is going down considerably, but the duration is increasing", reports flaig. In figures: 4.7 percent of the sick contribute 51.5 percent of the days absent from work. Cardiovascular diseases made a significant contribution to this development last year: while the number of cases actually fell slightly, the number of days missed doubled from around 17 to around 34 days.
In contrast, there was a decline in mental illnesses in 2012: after 36.2 sick days in this area in 2011, the average was only 32.6 days per year and patient in 2012. On the other hand, the number of cases has again increased slightly. Even the slight decline does not change the long-term trend: mental illnesses increased by two-thirds from 2000 to 2012. "The question is, of course, whether we are ill in a different way today or whether our perception has changed." Incidentally, the much-cited burn-out is rarely mentioned as a diagnosis: "depression is diagnosed eight times more often than burn-out", says flaig.
"I can only confirm that", harald schubler is not surprised by the sad record of the region. He is the head of the schubler freight forwarding company in oberleichtersbach and employs 35 people. As is generally the case in the logistics industry, the sickness rate at his company is very high: in 2010 and 2011, it was still around five percent; in 2012, the rate rose to 7.78 percent, which means 28.4 sick days per employee per year. Upward trend.
"I employ three men alone to compensate for sick leave", says schubler. But: "we can't get any drivers because we don't have enough people who have completed their CI certificate in the german armed forces." Driving licenses cost between 6,000 and 7,000 euros, and are subsidized by the employment agency for the unemployed. But: "who wants to be on the road all week??", motivation is often lacking afterwards. A truck driver rubs off up to 3000 kilometers a week. Schubler ensures that they stay as fit as possible by providing further training. His tip: "you should do something at every rest stop, even if it's just walking a few steps in the fresh air."
According to a DAK study, the health care sector has the highest sickness rates, closely followed by the logistics industry. This partly explains the poor figures in the region: 23 percent of the DAK-insured work in clinics and practices. This also includes many employees of the heiligenfeld clinics: "we have around 700 employees and our sickness rate of just under five percent is in line with the industry-wide average", reports press spokeswoman kathrin schmitt. That's about three days more per employee than the high average for the region.
The company is doing a lot to counteract this: "but with a complex health management system, we make sure that our employees are very committed and healthy", reports kathrin schmitt. There are no employees at heiligenfeld who are present but not actually able to work due to illness.
"We have an emergency shoulder and neck service, for example," says, reports thorsten stuwe, head of physical therapy. Should he stay: if someone is tense, they call and get a massage. And the offer goes on: even cosmetic and grooming vouchers can be redeemed by employees while they are at work.
"I use the gym and the swimming pool in the building", reports health officer stefan schneider. Many other things are also part of the initiative, such as showering facilities for all those who come to work by bike. In stefan schneider's case, at least, the concept is working: "i've been working here for three years and haven't had a single day of sick leave", says the 44-year-old.