Formerly disabled workers off sick twice as often

08/11/2005 14:00

Workers with a disability or chronic illness, and people who have returned to work after a period of disability or illness report in sick more often than average. In 2002 the sickness absence rate was 8.9 percent among workers with a disability or illness and 10.7 percent among workers who had returned to work after a period of illness or disability. For all employees the total sickness absence rate was 5.3 percent on average.

One fifth of disabled people have a job

One fifth of people entitled to a disability or partial disability benefit in 2002 also had a paid job. This category consists of 175 thousand people. In addition, another 80 thousand people returned to work after a period of disability or illness. These are people whose disability benefit had been discontinued in the five years up to 2002.

Disabled and formerly disabled absent for longer periods

In 2002 employees who reported in sick were off work for an average 18 days. People with a disability benefit and those who used to have a disability benefit were off work for an average 28 days. They were therefore absent for longer per case. 

Sickness absence, frequency and duration, 2002

Sickness absence, frequency and duration, 2002

Formerly disabled more often ill

Formerly disabled people who had returned to work were off sick more often than workers with a disability benefit. In 2002 they reported in sick one and a half times as often as workers with a disability benefit. They were off work for a shorter period per case, though: 25 days compared with 30 days.

Absence of workers with and workers who formerly had a disability benefit, 2002

Absence of workers with and workers who formerly had a disability benefit, 2002

About 70 percent of workers with and workers formerly claiming a disability benefit were off work for a shorter time than the national average of 5.3 percent for all employees. The 30 percent with an absence rate above the national average are mainly off work for longer periods.

Age composition has no effect

The group receiving and formerly receiving a disability benefit comprises more older employees than the total group of employees. After correction for this difference, sickness absence falls by about half of a percent point. The higher absence rates are therefore hardly explained by the age composition of the group.

Gwen Krul and Judy Moester