Politicians, business leaders, doctors and health insurers are all raising the alarm due to continually rising health expenditure. There are various reasons for this, such as the demographic change in Germany over the last few years. The age of the workforce is increasing and 50–65-year-olds will make up 40% of the population by 2024. Additionally, due to the higher retirement age, employees are staying in work longer and longer and are therefore increasing the number of age-related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

Presenteeism (working whilst ill) also contributes to rising health expenditure. In many cases, the error rate increases, colleagues become infected and the employee ends up having to stop working completely.

In 2009, German companies spent €129 billion on illness costs. This accounts for 50% of the total expenditure for health in Germany. At the same time, economic damage caused by the loss of gross value added totalled €225 billion (9% of GDP).

Germany’s competitive advantage is shifting to knowledge and expertise. It is, therefore, recommended that older employees with experience and knowledge (50/60+) stay active and healthy in the company. A growing lack of skilled professionals increases competition for qualified employees.

This is where occupational health management comes in: it ensures that employees in the company stay healthy, which leads to an improved health rate. Illness costs are reduced and productivity is increased. After all, healthy and happy employees are motivated to achieve more and are positive ambassadors for the company.

The statutory accident prevention regulation dated 1 January 2011 is designed to set the tone. Every employer is now obliged to have a company doctor. The number of necessary hours of care is dependent on the employer’s liability insurance association, health risk and number of employees.


Source: Study by the Felix Burda Foundation 2011