Professional integration the ergo legal portal

Professional integrationWhoever has had to take a longer break from working life due to illness should take it slowly. The BEM helps with this.

occupational integration the ergo legal portal

Professional integration

The purpose of occupational integration management is to get employees back to work on a permanent basis after a long period of illness and incapacity for work. At the same time, it is intended to prevent future incapacity for work. Which requirements must be met? What is the course of proceedings? You can find out here.

Purpose of occupational integration management

Among other things, occupational integration management is intended to help with this,

– to prevent dismissals due to illness on the part of the employer, – to avoid the development of pension neuroses, and – not to leave professional knowledge and skills lying idle for longer than necessary.

Participant group

Every employee with statutory health insurance, whether employed full or part time, on a temporary or permanent basis, can in principle take part in a vocational integration measure. The only prerequisite is that you have been on sick leave for at least 6 weeks at a time. Or that you have been unable to work for a total of at least 6 weeks within the last 12 months due to the same illness.

Good to knowThe periods of medical rehabilitation are counted towards the 6-week period.


There are various options for occupational reintegration:

– Transfer to another job – Improvement of the technical equipment of the workplace – Reduction of working hours – Gradual integration according to the Hamburg model


If you are no longer able to cope with the stresses and strains at your previous workplace, a transfer to another equivalent workplace may be considered. Provided that the company organization allows it.

Redesign of the workplace

If you are restricted for the time being due to an illness, a reorganization of the workplace can help you return to your old job.

Example: A metal worker suffered a stroke. One leg remained paralyzed afterwards. The employee found it difficult to operate machines due to the limited stability caused by the paralysis. The stability could be improved by laying rubber mats around the workplace of the affected person.

Reduction of working hours

You may no longer be able to work full time due to illness. This does not mean, however, that you cannot be available to your employer on a reduced hourly basis. So why not think about a permanent reduction in working hours? Talk to your employer about it.

Gradual integration according to the Hamburg model


Gradual reintegration according to the Hamburg model can be considered for you as a person with statutory health insurance if:

– you have had to temporarily withdraw from working life due to serious illness, – however, your full ability to work under prere can be restored after a longer period of time from a medical point of view.

Good to knowThe period of a company integration measure in accordance with the Hamburg model will be counted towards the 78 weeks of sick pay. This means that you will continue to receive sickness or injury benefits and continue to be insured for pensions and accidents for the duration of the occupational reintegration measure.


– Suggestion by you as a legally insured person, treating physicians, employer, company physician, personnel department, works council, health insurance company, etc. – Gradual reintegration is deemed advisable from a medical point of view – drawing up a reintegration plan

Good to knowThe employer must offer you the opportunity to participate in a vocational reintegration measure. However, participation in such a measure is voluntary for you. A refusal has no consequences under labor law. Nevertheless, from the employee's point of view, there are good reasons to seriously consider such an offer: It does not protect you from dismissal due to illness, but it can make it more difficult to do so.

The suggestion to carry out a company reintegration does not have to come from the employer. You, too, can approach your supervisor with such a request.

Please note: A discussion with the employer about participation in occupational rehabilitation is not to be confused with a sick return interview. Participation in such an interview is mandatory.

Medical justifiability

Even if you are still on sick leave, your doctor must consider it medically justifiable for you to return to work for at least a few hours a week.

Elaboration of a reintegration plan

You must work out a reintegration plan together with your employer and in consultation with doctors and the health insurance fund. This plan should include the following:

– Start and end of the measure. Normally, such a measure lasts between 6 weeks and 6 months. In exceptional cases it can be extended to up to 12 months. – Type and duration of each level. Travel to the place of work must also be taken into account.

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