Sick leave rates continue to fall

Absence through illness fell substantially in the second quarter of 2003. In the private sector it was 0.7 of a percent point lower than in the same quarter last year. In the public sector it fell by 0.4 of a percent point.

Sharp drop in absence in the private sector

Absence because of ill health was an average 4.7 percent in the private sector in the second quarter of 2003. In practice this means that every day an average one in twenty employees were off sick. In the same quarter in 2002 this rate was 5.4 percent. Absence in the private sector fell by nearly as much in the second quarter as in the first quarter, when it was 0.6 percent lower than twelve months previously.

Absence through illness in the private sector, second quarter

Lowest absence rates in agriculture

The strongest decrease in sick leave was in the sector agriculture and fishery, where it fell from 3.4 percent to 2.0 percent in the space of one year. Absence has never been so low in this sector.

In the sectors manufacturing and construction, and commercial services it fell by 0.7 of a percent point to 5.3 percent and 4.1 percent respectively. In non-commercial services it fell by 0.6 of a percent point to 5.8 percent.

Absence through illness in the public sector, second quarter

Absence in public sector down for second year in a row

Absence through ill health for government employees decreased from 6.7 percent in the second quarter of 2002 to 6.3 percent in the second quarter of 2003. This is the second year in a row that public sector sick leave decreased.

Absence of government employees by sector

Largest fall for police

Absence fell across all sectors of government in 2002. The largest decrease was for the police forces, where it fell from 9.5 percent in 2001 to 8.2 percent in 2002. Part of this decrease was caused by the fact that a number of long-term absentees are no longer counted as absent because of illness, but are included in the group covered by the disability act. Sick leave was also substantially lower among provincial government employees: by 1.2 percent points.

John Kartopawiro