Sickness absence rate for older employees without chronic disorders about  the same as for younger employees

01/07/2014 15:00

The sickness absence rate for older employees is higher than for their younger counterparts, because older employees more often suffer from chronic disorders. Older employees are more often faced with disorders related to high sickness absence rates, like cardiovascular diseases and back, back of the neck and joint complaints.  The sickness absence rates by age for employees without chronic diseases do not differ much.

Sickness absence higher as people grow older

The reported sickness absence rate for employers over 2013 was 4.0 percent. This means that in every 100 working days, employees  were on average 4 days absent from work, because they were ill. The sickness absence rate becomes higher as people grow older. The rates among 15 to 24-year-olds and 25 to 34-year-olds were 2.3 and 3.4 percent respectively. With 5.8 percent, the highest rate was recorded among 55 to 64-year-olds.

Most working days lost due to flu and cold

Across all age groups, flu and cold are the most common causes to prevent employees from going to work. More often than among young employees, older employees suffer from chronic disorders,  like cardiovascular diseases and back, back of the neck and joint complaints.

Sickness absence of employees by age, 2013

Sickness absence of employees by age, 2013

Sickness absence varies little by age for employees without chronic diseases

The sickness absence rate among 55 to 64-year-olds without chronic disorders is only marginally higher than across younger age groups, but the rate rises rapidly with age among employees suffering from chronic disorders. This has to do with the types of disorders older employees suffer from.

Sickness absence among employees with and without chronic disorders, 2013

Sickness absence among employees with and without chronic disorders, 2013

Older people more commonly suffer from diseases related to high sickness absence

Older employees more often have chronic disorders related to back, back of the neck and joint problems and to cardiovascular diseases. The average sickness absence due to these diseases is higher than among young people with chronic diseases like asthma and migraine.

Sickness absence among employees by type of chronic disorder, 2013

Sickness absence among employees by type of chronic disorder, 2013

The results presented in this article are based upon the Netherlands Working Conditions Survey (NEA) conducted by the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Hendrika Lautenbach