Sickness absence rate up slightly in 2009

01/04/2010 15:00

The sickness absence rate among Dutch employees was 4.6 percent on average in the fourth quarter of 2009. This is slightly higher than in the same quarter in 2008, when it was 4.4 percent.

Swine flu

Sickness absence was 4.6 percent in the fourth quarters of 2006 and 2007. It subsequently fell to 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008. This may be connected with the economic downturn: in times of economic decline, employees are less likely to stay off work. In the fourth quarter of 2009, however, the rate rose to 4.6 percent again. This slight rise is probably connected with the swine flu outbreak.

Sickness absence of employees, 4th quarter

Sickness absence of employees, 4th quarter

Sick leave up in construction and manufacturing

The increase in absence was strongest in the sectors manufacturing and construction. In the fourth quarter of 2009 the sickness absence rate was 4.6 percent in construction, up from 4.3 percent twelve months previously. In the manufacturing industry it rose from 5.2 percent to 5.5 percent in the same period.

Sickness absence also rose in the commercial sector, especially among financial institutions and business services. In the non-profit sector absence rates were at the same level in 2009 as one year previously.

Sickness absence by sector of industry, 4th quarter

Sickness absence by sector of industry, 4th quarter

Absence rates stable for last five years

As a result of seasonal effects, sickness absence rates are usually higher in the fourth quarter than in the first three quarters. Therefore the quarterly figures are not comparable with figures for a whole year.

For the whole of 2009, the sickness absence rate was the same as in 2008, namely 4.3 percent. The rate remained low for 2009 as the number of people reporting in sick in the first two quarters of 2009 was lower than in the same period in 2008. Sickness absence rates have been fairly stable for the last five years.

Sickness absence of employees, 1993-2009

Sickness absence of employees, 1993-2009

John Kartopawiro