Mainz (dpa / lrs) - Around one in 100 elderly care workers in Rhineland-Palatinate was on sick leave due to Covid-19 in the fourth quarter of 2020 - a proportion higher than in any other professional group.

That is the result of a report from the Barmer health insurance company, which the Rhineland-Palatinate managing director Dunja Kleis presented on Thursday in Mainz.

"Of all the people who are on sick leave with Covid-19, those in care for the elderly are hit the most and those in health care the third most," said Kleis.

In second place are educators and social workers.

According to Kleis, the reason is that employees in these industries have a particularly large number of contacts.

According to the report, elderly workers and nurses generally report sickness more often and take early retirement more often than people in other professions.

In the period from 2016 to 2018, around 92 out of 1,000 nursing assistants were on an average day on sick leave; in professions outside of nursing, the average was only 50 out of 1,000 employees.

According to the report, the state of Rhineland-Palatinate would have 1,100 more care workers if they were just as healthy as the rest of the workforce in the state.

"I think that's an alarming number," said Kleis.

The working conditions of nursing staff have therefore tightened in the pandemic.

Processes have to be reorganized due to protective and hygiene measures, and emotional work is increasingly taken over by the staff because of the restricted visits.

Absences due to excessive psychological and physical stress would have to be absorbed by colleagues anyway, which increases the “vicious circle” in the care emergency.


According to Kleis, “further activations and intensifications are necessary” in order to increase the attractiveness of the profession.

Appropriate remuneration and more predictable working hours are needed.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210218-99-494329 / 2

Overview page for the Barmer care report