What effect can prolonged illness have on an employment contract?

The employment contract of employees terminates automatically on the day on which they exhaust their rights to sick pay in accordance with the provisions of the Social Security Code, i.e. after 78 weeks of incapacity for work during a reference period of 104 weeks.

The end of entitlement to sick pay therefore implies the automatic termination of an employee’s employment contract.

It is possible that a five-day absence from work due to a minor illness could, in the worst case, result in the total of 78 weeks over the two-year reference period being exceeded and the employment contract of the person concerned being terminated immediately.

It is therefore possible that an employee who is unable to work due to illness, although still protected against dismissal (26 weeks from the onset of the incapacity to work), could be automatically terminated even though he or she has accumulated the maximum period of coverage by the National Health Fund (CNS).