Can I go to the sauna despite being on sick leave?

As a general rule, employees on sick leave must engage in healthful behavior. What this means in practice varies from case to case. To get better faster, exercise or a visit to the sauna can also definitely help.
What is allowed despite sick leave?

Sauna during sick leave: what is allowed and when caution is advised

  • Type of illness: Whether you are allowed to go to the sauna despite sick leave depends on the type of illness. It can be helpful with burnout, but should be avoided with heart problems or infections.
  • Focus on recovery: A sauna visit should not hinder recovery. In the case of infectious diseases, there is a risk of infection, and the employer could question the sick leave.
  • Legal view: The Federal Labor Court clarifies that activities are permitted during sick leave as long as they do not impair recovery, including visits to the sauna.

What is allowed despite sick leave?

Am I allowed to go to the sauna despite sick leave? During the cold season, many employers suffer from the absence of their employees. However, the latter are often faced with the tricky question of what they may and may not do during their recovery period. Lawyers and doctors are of the opinion that the respective type of illness plays a decisive role. Furthermore, there is no such thing as a 24-hour period of bed rest. Depending on the particular illness, employees may even go on vacation, play sports, take a sauna or go away.

The nature of the illness determines which leisure activities are permitted

Sick leave is a method of achieving the fastest possible improvement in health. Thus, people who are on sick leave are allowed to do anything that is good for their recovery. Nevertheless, the type of illness plays an important role. Patients suffering from burnout are even allowed to go on vacation. Therefore, there is nothing against a visit to the sauna. A sauna has a positive effect on recovery in many ways. It strengthens the immune system. Furthermore, it has a relaxing effect.

The soothing warmth counteracts stress. In this respect, regular sauna sessions contribute to a faster recovery. However, patients who are on short-term sick leave due to high blood pressure or heart problems should not visit a sauna until they have consulted their doctor. As a rule, in such cases, doctors advise against saunas. These could aggravate the complaints in the cases mentioned. Therefore, heart and hypertension patients should not visit a sauna during sick leave.

Sauna use must not hinder recovery

Sauna use must not hinder recovery in any way. People who are on sick leave due to a cold, an infectious disease or a flu virus should rather not visit a sauna. Although the patients are not bedridden, they still need some rest. In the wellness oasis called sauna they can lie down, however, the heat in this case does not accelerate the recovery at all. Furthermore, those with colds spread their viruses and bacteria in the sauna and unfairly infect the other visitors. Therefore, sauna lovers are on the safe side if they consult their doctor.

It would be inappropriate to take a sick leave because of a headache or flu virus and then end up in the sauna next to the boss. The boss could then get the feeling that his employee has faked the sick leave. If this suspicion exists, the employer has the right to issue a notice of termination or a warning.

Sauna attendance despite sick leave should be clarified with the physician

Employees are on the safe side if they clarify the sauna visit with their doctor. If the doctor allows the visit to the wellness oasis, there is nothing to be said against taking a sauna. In addition, employees on sick leave are on the safe side if their doctor has advised them. They need to fear in this case neither a warning nor a notice. The advice of the health expert acts as a certain safeguard. Thus, the illness decides on the possibility of a sauna visit.


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