Sick leave private sector 11 percent down

In 2003 the sick leave rate in the Dutch private sector was 11 percent down on 2002. In the public sector it fell by 4 percent. The reduction was possibly caused by changes in legislation, improved working conditions and the current recession.

Sick leave at lowest level since 1997

In 2003 absence due to sickness averaged 4.8 percent in the private sector, implying that on average one in 21 private sector employees stayed home sick each day. This is a substantial reduction on 2002 when the corresponding percentage was 5.4. Absence due to sickness reached its lowest level since 1997.

Sick leave in the private sector

Sick leave in the private sector

Reasons for the reduction

The reduction was possibly caused by the introduction of a new act obliging employers to give sick employees more support and attention. More and more often trade unions and employers reach agreement on measures to improve working conditions and reduce absence. The recession may also play a part in this respect. Sick leave tends to fall in times of economic depression.

Sick leave in agriculture down by one third

In 2003 the sick leave rate was highest in the non-commercial services sector and the manufacturing industry, i.e. 5.8 percent. The high rate in non-commercial services was mainly caused by the health and welfare sector (6.2 percent). Sick leave in the care sector fell significantly. In 2000 it was still at 7.8 percent. In the manufacturing industry the high rate is mainly caused by people working in sheltered workshops. Agriculture had the lowest sick leave rate with 2.6 percent. Absence in this sector fell by one third last year.

Sick leave private sector by economic activity

Sick leave private sector by economic activity

Substantial reduction for small enterprises

The average sick leave rate for companies employing one hundred people or more was 5.9 percent in 2003, a sharp decrease on the previous year (6.6 percent). Sick leave in enterprises employing fewer than 10 people dropped sharply from 3.1 percent in 2002 to 2.2 percent in 2003.

Smaller fall for public sector

Sick leave in the public sector dropped from 5.6 percent in 2002 to 5.4 percent in 2003. This reduction was less substantial than in 2002. In 2001 the sick leave rate in the public sector was still 6.5 percent.

Sick leave public sector

Sick leave public sector

John Kartopawiro

Source: StatLine