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WIM – what you need to know!

The law in a nutshell

Book IX of the German Social Code (SGB IX) puts the legal onus on employers to provide workplace integration management. § 167 (2) SGB IX states:

“If employees are incapacitated for work, continuously or repeatedly, for more than 6 weeks within one year, the employer shall – with the incapacitated employee’s consent and participation and together with the employee representatives within the meaning of Section 93, and in the case of severely disabled persons also with the disabled representatives – clarify the options for overcoming the incapacity for work as much as possible as well as the services or assistance that can be used to prevent the employee from coming re-incapacitated for work and preserve their job (workplace integration management).”

§ 167 (2) SGB IX

The law explicitly states that the WIM program must be carried out “with the employee’s consent and participation.” That means nothing can be done here without employees’ consent, let alone against their will. Employees have no legal obligation to participate in a WIM program.

What happens if you are an employee and refuse to participate in a WIM program?

First, refusal to participate in a WIM program has no immediate consequences or need to be justified. However, your decision may have indirect consequences. If your employer has offered you a WIM program and you have rejected it, you cannot claim that no WIM program was provided or that no attempt was made to adapt the workplace to your needs or disabilities in a future labor law dispute.

Will employers be punished if they do not carry out a WIM program?

There are no immediate sanctions. However, most experts believe that terminating employees for medical conditions without implementing a workplace integration management program is generally excessive and thus contrary to public policy.

Workplace integration management has been regulated by law since April 1, 2004 in § 167 (2) SGB IX; however, it is not pursued by law unless it goes before the labor court.