🇩🇪 Doctors in Germany: Work-life balance

• Introduction

There is a lot of Work-life balance, except in some specialties and some types of hospitals. We will mention them at the end. But generally speaking, the work-life balance is very good compared to many countries in the world. We will explain why.

A colleague of mine is from Jordan. His salary was in Jordan about 900 Euros as a resident for neurosurgery. We calculated his salary in Germany, if he were to work the same number of hours per month, the salary was >5600 Euro as a net salary. Plus 250 Euro for each child he has.

• Good salary

Because the salary is good, some doctors work less than 100% (how much you like! Like 50%, 60%, 75%, 90%, etc). The income of doctors in Germany:

• Normal working hours

Doctors work are by law expected to work 40 hours a week and maximally work two weekends in a month. In university hospitals, one is expected to work 42 hours a week, but unofficially, they could work up to 60-80 hours. Not paid! So, if you are seraching for work-life balance, never university hospitals.

• Maximal number of working hours per week

We will search for the exact number but it is about 56 hours maximally per week

• Number of vacations

ca. 30+/2 per year. In some hospitals with a night shift system, 5 days extra.

• Sick leave days

Around 30 per year. Moreover, if a child is sick, you are allowed to take days off.

• Taking a sick leave

This is very easy. For up 3 days you can remain at home without getting a sick leave paper from a doctor. You simply call the secretary of your department and inform them that you are sick (no need to mention with what) and are not coming to work

• Money while being sick

While not working, not only do you get your full salary, but too, you get extra money paid for each day (around 80 to 400 Euros. Details in this article:

• Parental leave

For up to two years, for the wife and husband. They get 60% of the salary. Details in the article above about salaries.

• Unemployment benefit (das Arbeitslosengeld)

If someone did not have a job any longer or their contract ended, they get 60% of their salary plus money for job interviews. Details in the article above about salaries.

• Being forced to work extra shifts

Again, this is regulated by the law. However, in some competitive specialties like neurosurgery and heart surgery and in university hospitals, doctors accept to do that! Because they know, it is not easy to get such positions and they want to learn a lot.

• Avoiding night shifts

If you have a health reason, that you cannot do night shifts. Then you are not allowed any longer to do them. But this is not a good thing because it will cause more work to your colleagues. If you hate night shifts, you can choose specialties without them or later on have your own clinic:

• Hospitals with litte or no work-life balance

• Most university hospitals, but not all specilaties in them

• Some private hospitals would rather take advantage of the doctors

• Big hospitals in big citie (🇩🇪 der Maximalversorger): Such hospitals have like 1000-2000 beds and usually there is a lot of work and a lot of extra working hours

• Hospitals with litte or no work-life balance

• Neurosurgery

• Heart surgery

Want to learn more? Questions?
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Further readings:
• “Living in Germany during Medical Residency”, German medical residency website, link.

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