Illness absenteeism at record high in first quarter


Absenteeism among employees of companies and the government has never been as high as in the first quarter of this year. According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), absenteeism due to illness rose to 6.3 percent, compared to 4.8 percent in the same period last year.

CBS did not say whether the coronavirus is the cause of the high absenteeism. The stats office pointed out that an annual survey showed that 8 percent of employees had coronavirus-related complaints during their most recent absenteeism last year.

In the first months of this year, healthcare was again the sector with the most absenteeism at almost 9 percent. A year earlier, it was 6.8 percent. Absenteeism due to illness is particularly high in nursing, care, and home care at above 10 percent. Childcare also had 10 percent absenteeism. According to CBS, this was the first time ever that a sector reported an absenteeism rate of over 10 percent. The coronavirus played a significant role among this group of people.

Relatively speaking, the hospitality industry saw the strongest increase in absenteeism. CBS could not say why but thinks the relaxation of the coronavirus restrictions played a role. The Cabinet relaxed the restrictions in the first quarter, and cafes and restaurants were allowed to open with no extra precautions. Absenteeism in the hospitality industry increased by 2.1 percent to 6 percent.

The other services sector, which includes hair salons and saunas, also recorded its highest absenteeism ever at 6.7 percent. Financial services had the lowest absenteeism rate at 3.4 percent.

The flu and the common cold were the most frequently cited reasons for absenteeism. Last year about 30 percent of cases involved these diseases. Psychological complaints, overstrain, and burnout were also common. Nearly a quarter of employees said they have never called in sick.


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