How do health insurance companies fund height-adjustable desks? All about subsidies and funding opportunities in Germany for 2024

It is now common knowledge that prolonged sitting and non-ergonomic posture affect our health in the long term. Do you spend most of your working time sitting in the same position? Then you know the feeling of exhaustion and constant back pain only too well...

A sit-stand desk allows more movement and can therefore significantly reduce your discomfort. But who should cover the costs of your height-adjustable desk? Is it the health insurance company, your employer or do you have to bear the costs yourself?

In this article, we inform you about the legal situation regarding the financing of height-adjustable desks in Germany and provide information on who you can contact in this regard and how you can most easily obtain funding for your height-adjustable desk or apply for a subsidy for a height-adjustable desk.

Die Krankenkasse kann in einigen Fällen deinen höhenverstellbaren Schreibtisch finanzieren.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act defines measures and obligations that must be fulfilled to ensure the safety and health of employees at work. A significant part of the legislation relates to working conditions. According to § 3 of the German Occupational Health and Safety Act , it is the responsibility of the employer to take and adapt occupational health and safety measures. However, the costs of these measures may not be imposed on the employees.

Furthermore, according to § 4 , the employer is responsible for organizing work in such a way that risks to physical and mental health are avoided. The measures to be taken must take into account, among other things, the latest developments in occupational medicine.

According to § 5 , it is also the employer's duty to regularly assess the working conditions in order to identify potential hazards in good time and prevent them. Potentialhazards can arise from the design and furnishings of the workplace, among other things.

Der Arbeitgeber ist dazu verpflichtet, den Arbeitsplatz so einzurichten, dass deine Gesundheit geschützt ist.

What does this mean for the employee?

It follows that, in principle, the employer is responsible for setting up the employee's workplace in such a way that their health is protected. However, one fundamental problem is that there are no specific regulations or laws that explicitly refer to the use of height-adjustable desks for back problems or other health problems.

For this reason, employers are thereforenot obliged to subsidize or provide employees with a height-adjustable desk. The assumption of costs for a height-adjustable desk is therefore primarily based on the employer's goodwill.

However, the Occupational Health and Safety Act also defines the rights and obligations of employees who, according to § 16 , should inform the employer of any risks to their own health and safety. The disadvantage, however, is that according to § 17 of the German Occupational Health and Safety Act employees can only make suggestions to improve their health and safety at work. Whether the employer implements the suggestions made depends solely on their assessment and will.

If you prove to your employer that a height-adjustable desk would be better for your health, it is still their decision whether they will comply with your request and at least grant you a subsidy for your height-adjustable desk.

Your employer does not support your suggestions and you are still of the opinion that your health and/or safety at work are at risk due to the lack of measures taken by your employer? Then you can contact the competent authority, the supervisory authority for occupational health and safety, according to § 17 .

Finanzierung von höhenverstellbaren Schreibtischen durch die Krankenkasse.

What does the Workplace Ordinance stipulate?

The Occupational Health and Safety Act deals with general occupational health and safety issues. However, when it comes to the specific design and equipment of workplaces, the Workplace Ordinance provides precise guidelines.

The Workplace Ordinance explicitly refers to the design of VDU workstations in Annex 6. It stipulates that the requirements of ergonomics must be observed, employees must be given regular rest periods and sufficient space must be provided for changing working postures and movements. However, the regulation does not address the height adjustment of desks.

The only requirement for desks is that they should have asufficiently large and low-reflection surface and allow work equipment to be arranged flexibly.

Conclusion: The Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Ordinance do not provide a legal basis for covering the costs of a height-adjustable desk. However, this does not mean that access to a "free" sit-stand desk is closed to you, as there are other options for funding or a subsidy for height-adjustable desks.

Arbeiten im Stehen mit dem Yaasa Frame Essential in Weiss.

How do I still convince my employer to buy a height-adjustable desk?

So far, the legal situation does not look promising when it comes to your employer financing or subsidizing a height-adjustable desk. Although your employer is not legally obliged to pay for a sit-stand desk, it is not impossible that they will nevertheless agree to the purchase of a flexible desk.

Before you approach your employer about this, you shouldfind out in detail about the advantages of a height-adjustable desk so that you can convince them of the benefits of such a desk with good arguments. If you explain the advantages of height-adjustable desks to your employer, they will be more likely to decide to cover the costs.

You should alsofind suitable desks in advance . Above all, you should make sure that the desk meets the size requirements of the office, has the most important technical functions and is not too expensive. If the sit-stand desk is expensive for your employer, they will be more likely to refuse the purchase. It is best to get a quote from the manufacturer in advance. You can then present this to your employer together with the specifications of the height-adjustable desk.

Here you will find a selection of height-adjustable desks in various sizes and colors. The Desk Pro 2 in particular, with its generous tabletop dimensions and functions, is suitable as an office desk and is also available at a fair price. On request, we will also be happy to provide you with a quotation for your selected desk: Simply get in touch using our contact form.

Do you need a quote for a height-adjustable desk?

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If you have been suffering from health problems for a long time as a result of a workplace that is not optimally equipped, you should consult a specialist. Such complaints can include back or neck pain caused by excessive sitting and a lack of movement at work.

In addition to treatment recommendations, your doctor can also issue you with a corresponding medical certificate. You can also present the certificate to your employer to convince them of the urgency of a height-adjustable desk to protect your health.

The certificate for a height-adjustable desk should tell in detail about your physical problems and their causes and include your diagnosis , which makes the purchase of a standing desk indispensable. In addition, your attending physician shouldstate as precisely as possible in the certificate how and why a height-adjustable desk would promote your health and have a positive effect on your work.

The certificate should confirm your physical complaints or limitations and thus justify the assumption of costs for a height-adjustable desk as a work aid.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that your employer is not obliged to equip your workplace with a height-adjustable desk even if you present a meaningful medical certificate. If your employer is reluctant to do so, you can then contact rehabilitation providers or your health insurance company. We will now explain what you should bear in mind.

Mann verstellt die Höhe an seinem Bürotisch.

Financing a sit-stand desk through "benefits for participation in working life" from rehabilitation providers

Benefits for participation in working life
, LTA for short, are aimed at people with disabilities or at risk of disability. They are intended to enable those affected to take up, improve or restore gainful employment. The benefits can be provided to the employees concerned as well as to the company in which the employees work.

In addition to support in financing training or further education or medical assistance, for example, LTA also includes subsidies for aids and technical work aids. In certain cases, height-adjustable desks also fall into this category . Benefits for participation in working life are provided by various rehabilitation providers.

When applying for LTA, you always need a medical certificate, a cost estimate from the manufacturer and a completed application form, which you can find at the relevant rehabilitation provider. If the rehabilitation provider determines that you need a height-adjustable desk at work due to your health situation, there is a good chance that the costs of your height-adjustable desk will be covered.

The rehabilitation providers (whichinclude, for exampleGerman Pension Insurance) refer to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. As already mentioned, the employer is primarilyresponsiblefor the ergonomic equipment of the workplace . For this reason, there is no obligation for pension insurance to provide benefits and no obligation to cover costs when it comes to height-adjustable desks. Pension insurance will cover the costs if the workplace is equipped individually due to a disability and this goes beyond the employer's obligation.

Mann arbeitet im Stehen an einem höhenverstellbaren Tisch von Yaasa.

Which rehabilitation provider is responsible for "benefits for participation in working life"?

Benefits for participation in working life are provided by different rehabilitation providers. Who you contact for this depends, for example, on how long you have been employed and liable to pay contributions.

The German Pension Insurance (DRV), for example, is responsible for LTA if you have been employed for at least 15 years and are liable to pay contributions. To apply to the DRV for funding for a height-adjustable desk, you must complete the forms G0100 and G0130 , which you can download from the DRV website.

If you have been employed for less than 15 years and are liable to pay contributions, you should contact the Federal Employment Agency should be contacted. If it is an accident at work or on the way to work that means you now need a height-adjustable desk at your workplace, the statutory accident insurance institutions or Berufsgenossenschaften are the right contacts.

In special cases, the integration office or state welfare associations such as public youth welfare organizations are responsible for LTA. Finally, the health insurance fund also provides benefits for participation in working life. However, they are not legally obliged to do so, which is why they should be seen as the last port of call.

Finanzierung eines Sitz-Steh-Tisches durch die Krankenkasse.

Financing of a sit-stand table by the health insurance fund

If neither your employer nor the rehabilitation provider is prepared to fund a height-adjustable desk, you can apply to your health insurance provider. But beware: although health insurance companies cover the costs of aids in the workplace, this is not always the case with a height-adjustable desk.

The health insurance company examines each application individually and decides whether and to what extent the applicant will be supported with funding or a subsidy for a height-adjustable desk.

As with other rehabilitation providers, you must also complete a application form when applying to the health insurance company for the cost of a height-adjustable desk to be covered. You will also need a meaningful medical certificate stating that you need a sit-stand desk to carry out your work.

If the health insurance company approves your application to cover the costs of a height-adjustable desk, this will be subject to a certain maximum price limit, which is 800 or 1200 euros . If your desired desk costs more, you must either pay the difference yourself or your employer can also cover the additional costs.

If the desk is below the specified price limit, the costs for your height-adjustable desk will be covered in full by your health insurance and you no longer have to worry about the financial aspects. Good news for you at this point: The price of the Desk Pro 2 from Yaasa is below the specifiedmaximum limit. The purchase of the desk therefore does not involve any additional costs for you or your employer.

However, it is important to emphasize that, despite convincing documentation, your application does not necessarily have to be approved. However, if this is the case, you can submit a new application. For example, you can have another certificate issued and gather further arguments that justify the health insurance company covering the costs of the height-adjustable desk.

Who owns the subsidized height-adjustable desk?

The costs for your sit-stand desk have been covered, but now the question arises as to who officially owns it. What happens if you change jobs or leave your current job?

If the employer has covered the costs of your height-adjustable desk, the desk belongs to the company. So if you leave the company one day, the employer keeps the desk. If the height-adjustable desk was financed by the health insurance fund or a rehabilitation provider, the desk belongs to you. So if you change employer, you can take your desk with you without any problems. Exception: If the price of the desk exceeds the amount of funding and your employer pays the difference, the desk is also owned in part by the employer.

Anleitung für Finanzierung von höhenverstellbaren Schreibtischen durch die Krankenkasse.

Summary: Step-by-step instructions for your free sit-stand table

In the following, we have briefly summarized the most important points that you should consider on the way to a free height-adjustable desk:

1. approach your employer

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the employer is primarily responsible for the optimal set-up of your workplace. They are therefore the first point of contact when it comes to financing a height-adjustable desk. Find out in advance about theadvantages of sit-stand desks at , obtain acost estimate from the manufacturer and, if necessary, prepare amedical certificate . This will enable you to convince your employer with good arguments for a height-adjustable desk.

2. rehabilitation provider

If your employer refuses to buy you a height-adjustable desk, you can try to get your sit-stand desk reimbursed via the LTA . Depending on the case, LTA is provided by different rehabilitation providers , which we have listed above in the blog post. To apply, you will need a medical certificate, a cost estimate and the relevant application form, which you can obtain from the rehabilitation provider.

3. health insurance company

The health insurance fund is the last port of call because it is not legally obliged to provide benefits for participation in working life. Nevertheless, applications for the health insurance fund to cover the costs of a height-adjustable desk can be approved if it is determined that the sit-stand desk is an indispensable aid for you at work and neither the employer nor the rehabilitation provider will pay for it.

Did you know that you can also deduct your desk from your taxes?

Guide: Deducting your desk from tax

What else can I do for my health at work?

In addition to the possibility of financing aids and equipment for your workplace, German Pension Insurance also offers a healthprevention program . This free program is aimed at all employees who experience health problems at work. This includes, for example, back pain caused by a lack of movement at work.

The prevention program is free of charge and lasts a total of 6 months. It is carried out before or after working hours, but also includes a few days off work with continued pay. The program focuses on training, nutritional advice and stress management. If you would like to do even more for your health in addition to alternating between sitting and standing at work, you can find all the information you need on theDRV website at .