Employers are well placed to reduce stress and thereby help employees stay healthy
(OECD, 2014k). Many German businesses already make substantial efforts to support
sick employees to return to work.
Firms engaging in prevention can be awarded premia
and certificates through the accident insurance scheme (IAG, 2010) and employers’
contributions to the accident insurance depend on the share of former employees on
accident insurance benefits (experience rating), which helps provide incentives to
employers to prevent health risks at the workplace.
The public health insurance funds have been required to raise workplace health promotion spending. In addition, safety-at-
work regulation has been strengthened. But there is scope for improvement:
● Collaboration between authorities, health insurance and employers in the prevention of
work-place related health risks can become more effective (Ahlers, 2015; Kohte, 2015;
OECD, 2015k), in particular to serve as a platform for exchange of information among the
private sector, researchers, health insurance providers and the government. This would
help to build up a common stock of knowledge by regional authorities to keep the quality
of inspections high, support small firms, to ensure enforcement for workers in
precarious employment and to monitor progress.
● Financial incentives for enterprises to engage in prevention could be raised. In accident
insurance contributions, penalties for employers with a high incidence of work-related
accidents are small overall (IAG, 2010). These penalties could be raised. Moreover firms’
disability insurance contributions are not adjusted according to the likelihood of
disability (experience rating). Some countries, including Switzerland and the
Netherlands, introduced experience rating in employer contributions to disability
insurance, obliging employers with many former employees on disability benefits to pay