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Business

Industry Leader Wants Sick Pay Reduction

The president of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), Ludwig Georg Braun, demanded that employees who fall ill should not receive sick pay the first two days they are absent. Braun said that although sick leave was currently low in Germany, companies could save almost 30 billion euros ($38 billion) per year through such a measure. The German Trade Union Federation (DGB) and the metalworkers union IG Metall reacted angrily to the demand. The Social Democratic labor market expert Klaus Brandner accused Braun of only wanting to increase corporate profits at the cost of sick employees. The opposition Christian Democrats (CDU) also opposed any changes to sick pay legislation and agreements. Corporate Germany has been calling more and more for cutbacks, including a reduction from the current 100% pay for sick leave and also by taking sick days from employees vacation. In 1996, the government of Helmut Kohl (CDU) had reduced benefits for those ill, only for the current Schröder administration to rescind the legislation when it took power.

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