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Sick leave isn't consistent with a nation's working rights, average wage or career satisfaction; in fact, the likes of the UK and Ireland are offering far worse sick-leave benefits than most other European nations.

Research from vouchercloud has revealed the amount of mandatory sick pay available to workers for both a week and a month off sick across Europe, with Switzerland and Liechtenstein out in front and Ireland, Finland and the United Kingdom lagging way behind.

With the average payout for a week of sick leave across Europe (including Australia) sitting at £245, the UK's £35.96 payout is one of the lowest by a long way - and with a slightly healthier £305.71 monthly payment still far below the £1,034 average, a strong average salary across the UK means nothing in terms of sick pay.

In fact, the average worker across Europe receives 65% of their salary as pay during a week of sick leave - in the UK, we are paid less than 9% of our typical week's salary.

That increases to a slightly healthier 18% when you look at a month of sick leave, but the number is still far below the European average (70% of your typical wage across a month of sick leave).

Norway, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria and Belgium pay out 100% of a worker's wage during a week and month of sick leave, pushing them towards the top of the table when it comes to providing acceptable sick leave payments - Malta and Croatia also pay out 100%, despite their far lower average national wage.

Due to a combination of long 'waiting periods' and lower national wages, Ireland, Finland, the UK, Estonia and Slovakia are holding up the table, paying £51 and below for a week of sick leave. Finland and Ireland, in fact, pay out nothing for a week of sick leave, due to extended 'waiting periods'.


Sick Leave - The Map

Sick Leave - £ per Week per Country

Sick Leave - The Data

Sick Leave - Country by Country

Sources


Sick Leave - The Map

Sick leave Across Europe Map


Sick Leave - £ per Week per Country

Sick leave - £ per week per country chart/graph


Sick Leave - The Data

A 'waiting period' (often called 'waiting days') is employed in many of the countries featured, ranging from 1 day to 9 days (though typically 3 days) and representing a period where no money is paid out by the employer or the state.

It is also worth noting that many countries and employers will pay out more than the minimum mandatory payments, and sick leave can be uniquely agreed with a specific employer and specific job - there is a chance that in your contract - even in the UK - you'll be entitled to more sick leave than the minimum.

Data is based on the mandatory minimum amount of sick pay unless otherwise stated, along with each respective nation's average salary. A 'working week' is assumed to be 5 days. Almost every country included requires a sick-note, approved by a doctor, to be given to the place of employment within a certain period of time for sick pay to be offered.

Data is also, where appropriate, based on having worked with a company for a year - as certain countries offer more lucrative sick day offerings based on how long you've worked with a company.


Sick Leave - Country by Country

UK

Australia

Austria

Belgium

Bulgaria

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Holland

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Italy

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Romania

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland


Sick Leave In the UK

The first three days of sick leave are 'qualifying days', where you aren't paid Statutory Sick Pay. This amount is taxable, but typically comes below most thresholds to pay much, if any, tax. If you've been paid SSP within the last 8 weeks, the 3 'qualifying days' no longer apply. Many companies have their own 'company sick pay' program that is often, hopefully, more lucrative.

A Week of Sick Leave

£35.96, or 8.68% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£305.71, or 18.44% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£21,552.60

(Source)


Sick Leave In Australia

Australians are entitled to 10 sick days per year which actually roll over - so if you've worked at a company for seven years, you have 70 days of paid sick leave to fall back on. Although that technically means you only have two weeks paid sick leave after a year, which is the figure we've included here.

A Week of Sick Leave

£661.84, or 100% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£1,323.68, or 50% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£34,415.65

(Source)


Sick Leave In Austria

Six weeks full paid sick leave is a guarantee every year in Austria (growing based on duration of employment) - with half of pay also available for a further four weeks.

A Week of Sick Leave

£416.63, or 100% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£1666.52, or 100% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£21,664.80

(Source)


Sick Leave In Belgium

As with most countries, Belgian sick leave is dependent on your employer seeing a sick note within the first few days of the illness - however, as long as you've worked longer than a month, you're guaranteed 30 days of your salary as sick pay.

A Week of Sick Leave

£410.16, or 100% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£1640.63, or 100% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£21,328.20

(Source)


Sick Leave In Bulgaria

The 'waiting period' is three days in Bulgaria, during which you receive 70% of your salary. After that, you see 80% for a maximum of 18 months.

A Week of Sick Leave

£55.45, or 74% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£235.28, or 78.50% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£3,896.40

(Source)


Sick Leave In Croatia

In Croatia, the employer pays out for the first 42 days of sick leave, and will pay at least 70% of your average wage over the previous 6 months. You have to have worked for 9 months prior to be eligible, though.

A Week of Sick Leave

£101.88 or 70% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£407.53, or 70% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£7,568.40

(Source)


Sick Leave In Cyprus

The Cypriote system is a tiny bit more complicated than other countries. The Weekly 'basic' benefit - 60% of the average weekly basic insurable earnings - is added to 50% of your earnings that exceeds the weekly basic insurable earnings. The most you can earn per week is €523.

A Week of Sick Leave

£169.20, or 54.80% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£676.78, or 54.80% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£16,054.80

(Source)


Sick Leave In the Czech Republic

Sick pay in the Czech Republic equates to 60% of the average daily income over the previous 12 months - from the 4th working day onwards. Up until the 14th day (two weeks) your company pays, and after that it is covered by 'sickness insurance' (by the state).

A Week of Sick Leave

£62.22, or 40% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£528.87, or 85% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£8,088.60

(Source)


Sick Leave In Denmark

Weekly sick leave actually maxes out at ~€550 in Denmark. After 14 days, the local authority pays instead of the employer, at a rate of 90% of the worker's salary - which, based on the average salary, is actually above that threshold.

A Week of Sick Leave

£465.53, or 76.56% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£1,862.11, or 76.56% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£31,620

(Source)


Sick Leave In Estonia

After a three-day waiting period, the Estonian system pays out 70% of your salary. Days 4 to 8 are paid by your employer, with the 'Health Insurance Fund' paying thereafter.

A Week of Sick Leave

£49.60, or 28% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£421.56, or 59.50% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£9,210.60

(Source)


Sick Leave In Finland

Finland operates a similar system to the UK, except with a 9-day waiting period. Very few people, unless unemployed or earning very little, will see the minimum allowance - the next level up is 70% of your annual earnings.

A Week of Sick Leave

£0, or 0% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£575.80, or 38.50% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£23,817

(Source)


Sick Leave In France

You receive 50% of your salary after 3 'waiting' days in France, similar to the UK system - with our figure based on the average French salary (€503 per week). This is all dependent on having worked long enough at your place of employment to qualify and obtaining a Doctor's note when you are first sick.

A Week of Sick Leave

£171.02, or 20% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£726.75, or 42.49% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£22,236

(Source)


Sick Leave In Germany

In Germany, subject to an approved sicknote, you'll receive your full salary for up to six weeks, after which you'll be paid 70% of your salary until fit to work or forced to retire.

A Week of Sick Leave

£436.44, or 100% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£1,745.77, or 100% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£22,695

(Source)


Sick Leave In Greece

A three-day waiting period, during which 50% of the worker's wage will be paid, precedes a month of full salary.

A Week of Sick Leave

£146.78, or 70% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£775.85, or 92.5% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£10,903.80

(Source)


Sick Leave In Holland

Sick leave pay of 70% of the worker's pay is the minimum in Holland, and is paid for up to two years.

A Week of Sick Leave

£296.31, or 70% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£1,185.24, or 70% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£22,011.60

(Source)


Sick Leave In Hungary

In Hungary, you can receive 70% of your wage for a maximum of 15 days a year, with 50% of your salary received after that point.

A Week of Sick Leave

£78.27, or 70% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£290.70 or 65% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£5,814

(Source)


Sick Leave In Iceland

Icelandic sick pay calculations are unique - you're entitled to two paid sick days per month, but this increases after 2, 3 and 5 years of working for the same company. As with most other calculations here, we've based our figures on someone who has worked at their company for around a year.

A Week of Sick Leave

£166.50, or 40% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£166.50 or 10% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£21,644.40

(Source)


Sick Leave In Ireland

Ireland has the longest 'waiting day' period. Six working days qualify as 'waiting days', and to be able to apply you must have accrued 104 weeks (two years) of social insurance contributions in total. You earn different amounts depending on your weekly wage, ranging from €84.50 to €188. You receive extra if you have a 'qualified adult' dependent on you - typically a spouse.

A Week of Sick Leave

£0, or 0% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£201.11 or 12% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£21,715.80

(Source)


Sick Leave In Italy

Similar to the UK system, there is a period of 3 'waiting days' in Italy (though this can be less based on your employer). between the 4th and 20th day of illness, you'll see 50% of your salary, progressing to 66.66% after that.

A Week of Sick Leave

£122.40, or 40% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£1040.40 or 85% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£15,912

(Source)


Sick Leave In Latvia

The Latvian system is a little more on the complicated side - you'll receive your full salary for up to € 16.38 per day, after which you'll receive 50% of your salary above that level (so if you'd typically earn €25 per day, you'll earn €16.38, plus half of the difference - so €20.69).

A Week of Sick Leave

£99.93, or 76.72% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£399.72 or 76.72% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£6,772.80

(Source)


Sick Leave In Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein has a single waiting day for sick leave, followed by sick pay amounting to 80% of your wage.

A Week of Sick Leave

£757.50, or 64% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£3,598.12 or 76% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£61,546.80

(Source)


Sick Leave In Lithuania

The employer covers the first two days of sick pay in Lithuania, and must pay a minimum of 80% of the employee's salary. After that, the 'SoDra' budget funds the sick pay, which pays out rather oddly at 40% up until the seventh day and 80% thereafter.

A Week of Sick Leave

£64.26, or 56% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£321.30 or 70% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£5,967

(Source)


Sick Leave In Luxembourg

Employees are paid their full salary up until the 77th day of sick leave by the employer in Luxembourg, at which point they receive benefits from the National Health Fund.

A Week of Sick Leave

£617.69, or 100% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£2,470.75 or 10% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£32,119.80

(Source)


Sick Leave In Malta

Maltese workers are guaranteed, at the very minimum, two working weeks of paid sick leave. This varies massively industry to industry, though.

A Week of Sick Leave

£200.27, or 100% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£400.55 or 50% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£10,414.20

(Source)


Sick Leave In Norway

The first 16 days of sick leave in Norway are paid for by your employer, and after that you're covered by the state for up to 52 weeks - all as your full salary.

A Week of Sick Leave

£667.32, or 100% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£2,669.26 or 100% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£34,700.40

(Source)


Sick Leave In Poland

Sick pay in Poland amounts to 80% of your typical salary.

A Week of Sick Leave

£113.46, or 80% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£453.82 or 80% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£7,374.60

(Source)


Sick Leave In Portugal

As with many other countries, the first three days of illness in Portugal are classified as 'waiting days' and go unpaid. 65% is the base sick-pay from that point on for many, though this can rise to 75% depending on the duration of illness.

A Week of Sick Leave

£58.91, or 30% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£500.69 or 63.75% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£10,210.20

(Source)


Sick Leave In Romania

Romanian sick pay is set at 75% of the average previous 6 months' wages for non-severe illnesses, or in full for 'severe' illnesses. The employer pays for the first five days, and the state thereafter.

A Week of Sick Leave

£68.11, or 75% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£272.46 or 75% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£4,722.60

(Source)


Sick Leave In Slovakia

Rather than a typical waiting period, the Slovakian system pays out 25% of the employee's base pay for 3 days, and 55% thereafter. The company pays for 10 days, and the 'Social Insurance Agency' pays out after.

A Week of Sick Leave

£51.38, or 37% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£280.53 or 50.50% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£7,221.60

(Source)


Sick Leave In Slovenia

In Slovenia, sick pay is set at 80%, with the employer paying for the first month and the state from that point on.

A Week of Sick Leave

£171.36, or 80% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£685.44 or 80% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£11,138.40

(Source)


Sick Leave In Spain

Employees typically receive social security payments during their sick leave, though some Spanish employers supplement this to match the full current salary. You'll receive 60% of your salary up to the fifteenth day of sickness, and 75% thereafter.

A Week of Sick Leave

£206.43, or 60% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£877.34 or 63.75% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£17,890.80

(Source)


Sick Leave In Sweden

After one waiting day, Swedish sick pay equates to 80% of your annual income paid for two weeks by your employer and, beyond that, by the 'Swedish Social insurance Agency'. You can also receive quarter, half and three-quarter sickness pay, based on how restricted your work is by your illness. This does max out at an equivalent salary of €35,087, however.

A Week of Sick Leave

£401.72, or 80% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£1,908.18 or 95% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£26,112

(Source)


Sick Leave In Switzerland

Workers in Switzerland are entitled to their full salary as sick pay for a minimum of three weeks during their first year with a company - though this quickly extends to longer sick leave allowances as you stay with a company for longer, hence the full £3209.86 figure.

A Week of Sick Leave

£802.47, or 100% of your typical weekly salary.

A Month of Sick Leave

£3209.86 or 100% of your typical monthly salary.

Average Annual Salary

£41,728.20

(Source)


Sources

The average wage per country across Europe was collated from various sources by Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_average_wage