The incidence of arthroscopic subacromial decompression has been increasing over the last few years. Little is known about the duration of sick leave after such a procedure. The aim of this study was to determine the time till return to full duty and to explore the various influencing factors. We retrospectively evaluated a group of 166 patients who consecutively underwent arthroscopic subacromial decompression for subacromial impingement syndrome. One hundred patients were professionally active at the time of surgery; the mean duration till return to full duty was 11.1 weeks. Self-employed workers had the shortest sick leave period (median time of 1 week). No statistically significant difference was seen between the group with a financial compensation from the national health insurance system (median time of 12 weeks) and the group with income replacement by a private insurance company (median time of 8 weeks). Patients performing manual labour typically had a longer period of sick leave than other employees (12 versus 8 weeks). A longer absence from work was also observed in individuals who underwent a concomitant arthroscopic AC resection and patients with a higher BMI.