Sickness absence rate stable in 2005

The sickness absence rate among Dutch employees averaged 4.0 percent in 2005, the same figure as in 2004. Fewer employees were reported ill, but the average absence period was longer, according to figures published by Statistics Netherlands. Agriculture and fisheries, care, education and financial institutions are not included in the overall sickness absence rate.

Absence due to sickness low in second year

Since 2004, sick employees are entitled to continued wage payment during a maximum period of two years, instead of one year. Absence due to illness exceeding one year is taken into account since 2005. Persons who fell ill in 2004 and remained ill for more than one year accounted for only 0.1 percentage points of the average sickness absence rate of 4.0 percent in 2005.

Higher absence rate among older employees

Absence due to sickness in the age category over 45 – and notably in the 55 to 65 age group – increased in 2005. The sickness absence rate in the latter age group increased from 5.5 percent in 2004 to 6.1 percent in 2005. Employees over 55 are less frequently ill than those in the 25-55 age group, but the absence period is longer. Absence due to sickness diminished among employees under 35 last year. With 1.6 percent, the absence rate was lowest among people under 25.

Absence rate among non-western foreigners diminishing

The absence rate among people with a non-western foreign background dropped from 4.7 percent in 2004 to 4.5 percent in 2005. It decreased among all groups surveyed, excluding Surinamese. The absence rate among native Dutch employees remained unchanged (3.9 percent) relative to 2005.

Lowest rate in sector hotels and restaurants

With 2.1 percent, the lowest sickness absence rate was recorded in the sector hotels and restaurants, where the amount of young people is relatively high. Public administration had the highest absence rate, i.e. 5.4 percent. In business services, the absence rate dropped fairly considerably from 3.5 to 3.1 percent.