Work incapacity among women no longer growing

At the end of June 2006, 878 thousand people in the Netherlands were claiming a  disablement benefit. This is 115 thousand fewer than at the beginning of 2003. The share of women in the number of people who are unable to work because of sickness or disability rose in the period 1998-2004, but has stabilised since then.

Turning point in 2005

The number of women claiming disablement benefit rose by nearly 100 thousand in the period 1998-2003, while for men it remained about the same. This meant that the share of women rose from 39 percent in 1998 to more than 45 percent in 2004. In 2005 this rise came to an end. The share of women even fell slightly after September 2005.

Disablement benefits, 30 June

Fewer women unable to work

The number of new claims by women for disablement benefit outnumbered claims by men from 1998 to 2004. This turned around in 2005, when there were again more new claims by men than by women. Fewer and fewer people are declared unfit to work because of stricter legislation

Few new claimants in 2005

The influx of women peaked in 2001with more than 63 thousand new benefits. In subsequent years the number of new benefits fell. For women the decrease was stronger than for men.
The small number of new claimants in 2005 was caused by the new rule that since 1 January 2004 employers have to continue paying the wages of incapacitated employees for the first two years of absence. New claims were only honoured if the application had been delayed, for example because of appeal procedures, or if an employee became incapacitated again within five years of returning to work after receiving disablement benefit.

New disablement claimants

Nine thousand WIA benefits in first half of 2006

In the first half of 2006 19 thousand new disablement benefits were granted. Nine thousand of these were benefits under the new law on work and income according to capacity to work (WIA), the remaining 10 thousand were benefits under the former schemes.

Disablement often because of psychological disorders

Psychological disorders are the most important reason for people being pronounced unfit to work. Forty-one percent of all women unable to work are incapacitated because of psychological complaints. For men this is 35 percent. Men suffer more from musculoskeletal system, such as pain in the back or neck. This leads to work incapacity for 29 percent of the men and 25 percent of the women with a disablement benefit. 

Work incapacity by reason, June 2006

Harrie Hartman