Industrial companies do not suffer from more sick leaves | Free press

Concerns about another corona wave are growing. The number of sick leaves is also increasing. What does this mean for the country’s industry?


Robert Friedmann saw a doctor recently. The head of the Würth group in Künzelsau, known for its screws, no longer had the mind that masks were still mandatory there. “I had to go back to the car first,” he says.

Many Germans are likely to feel like Friedmann. Lots of sun outside, almost no restrictions, public life is like before the corona pandemic. The seven-day morbidity values ​​remain high.

Will Corona soon cripple the economy again?

Health insurance companies report more sick leave. The Federal President of the German Association of General Physicians told dpa that GPs are now seeing many patients with Covid disease, but also with flu-like symptoms or diarrhea that are actually atypical this season. However, according to the companies, the industry is not as much felt as according to a study by the German Press Agency. However, the question arises: will Corona soon – again – cripple the German economy?

Corona infections are high, as are sickness sick days, said Hans-Jürgen Urban, board member of IG Metall. But for anyone infected with the virus, there is no place in the workplace. This can lead to difficulties for individual companies, but: “Health must take precedence over performance and profit expectations.”

The hygiene concepts of companies would have to be maintained or reactivated, even if there are currently no clear guidelines from politicians. “With the fall in mind, it’s time to take the necessary precautions – for example, by installing or rebuilding ventilation systems,” said Urban.

Mobile work is not always possible

In the group of companies Fischer from Waldachtal (Freudenstadt district), known, among others Last year. “We believe Corona is responsible for a large proportion of sickness and absences,” explained CEO Marc-Sven Mengis.

In administrative areas, employees often worked mobile in mild cases. However, this is not possible in production. “We have performance issues in some areas,” admitted Mengis. Vacationers and temporary workers should fill this gap.

The PWO car supplier in Oberkirch (Ortenaukreis) is now reporting a similar level of sick leave as in July 2021. However, compared to 2020 and 2019, this is almost a third more, the spokeswoman said. “Much of our morbidity is caused by Covid.” Production is controlled particularly carefully on individual machines, the so-called bottlenecks. After the holiday period, the company expects an increase in sick leave.

The protective measures are working

Fresenius has announced that the plants of its subsidiary Fresenius Medical Care and the supplier of liquid medicines Fresenius Kabi have experienced a staff shortage related to the coronavirus. However, they are limited and affect production and deliverability “slightly,” according to the Dax group. In recent years, he has suffered severely from a pandemic in his hospitals. An increasing number of corona infections are again observed at the Helios branch with around 90 clinics in Germany. “If operations need to be postponed, they are elective interventions, ie not medically urgent interventions.”

The Darmstadt-based Merck group for pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals has not experienced any corona restrictions in its facilities. He is seeing an increasing number of infections among the workforce, but thanks to protective measures, it has so far been able to “maintain production and deliverability”. Dax Group continues to rely on basic protection, including the obligation to wear masks indoors if the minimum distance is not respected, and on testing for employees.

In Lower Saxony, employers tend to be restrained. For example, the supplier of the automotive and machinery industry Continental stated that the total number of sick leave in Germany in the group is now “about the same as in the previous year”. The safety standards, protection principles and hygiene concepts introduced since the start of the pandemic continue to apply and are adapted as necessary based on the recommendations and measures of the Robert Koch Institute. Disease-related shortages are “already taken into account in the planning of staff deployment”.

Go back to the possible mask requirement

Steel producer Salzgitter also saw a renewed increase in corona infections and quarantine orders among workers. Production is ensured based on forward resource planning. “Thanks to the commitment and flexibility of our employees, we are well equipped to deal with the challenges of a pandemic,” he says.

There is also a slightly increased number of sick leaves at Würth, the bolt manufacturer, said head of Friedmann. Right now, he doesn’t worry about it, just asks himself, “Man, what’s it going to be like when it gets colder again?” If the sick leave noticeably increases, Würth “will of course revert to the mask requirement.” (dpa)

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