Short-term sickness absenteeism halved due to teleworking

Short-term sickness absenteeism halved due to teleworking
Credit: Belga

Absenteeism due to short-term illness (less than one month) was reduced by almost half in May compared to April, according to statistics by HR service provider SD Worx.

Such a decrease was also noted, compared to May 2019. According to the statistics published on Friday, based on almost 1 million employers in the private sector, the decline concerns both employees and manual labour workers.

Last month, short-term absenteeism (less than one month's absence) fell by 45%, from 2.29% in April to 1.27% in May. The figures also reflect a 51% decrease compared to last year.

Among manual labour workers, the absenteeism rate reached 1.49% in May, compared to 2.58% a month earlier, while for workers in an office environment, it was 1.17% last month, compared to 2.16% a few weeks earlier.

SD Worx attributed these "historically low figures" to teleworking, which became the norm during the coronavirus crisis.

"Employees who work from home are less exposed to contact and travel, especially on public transport. Additionally, you are less inclined to work if you do not feel well, and flexibility at home means that employees can continue to work from home," said David Schoonens, consulting director at SD Worx.

Illnesses of more than one month (and less than a year) are, on the other hand, 10% more frequent than last year.

However, there is a difference here between manual labour workers and office workers. Among manual labour workers, absences due to medium-term illness have risen considerably since March: from 3.6% in February to 4.87% in March, followed by a slight fall in April to 4.8% and a further fall to 4.2% in May.

For office and administrative workers, the increase has been smaller: from 2.1% in February to 2.5% in March and 2.6% in April, while in May there was a slight decrease to 2.3%.

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