Belgian private sector workers are increasingly more often absent for a short period, with a rise of 5% in absenteeism lasting more than a year, compared to 2017. This constitutes an increase not observed since 2005, according to a study by social secretariat Securex. In the course of an average work day in 2018, 7 workers out of every 100 were absent through sickness or an accident away from work, Securex reports. Of those, slightly more than two were away from work for less than a month, two for between a month and a year and nearly three for more than a year.
The overall increase in absenteeism has grown continuously since 2001. For the first time in ten years, the number of absentees of medium (from one month to a year) and long duration has remained virtually the same as the year before. The slowing down of the ageing process, growing awareness of the importance of mental health and the reintegration act that came into force at the end of 2016 may explain this phenomenon, according to the study.
In 2018, 53% of Belgian workers were absent once for at least a day through sickness. There were more absentees, but also more frequently absent workers, the group claiming to be sick three times or more having seen a sharp increase (+7%).
This increase could well be explained by the flu epidemic, summer heatwave or else a lack of motivation that is erupting, Securex considers. On Thursday, Partena also highlighted the growth in long-term illnesses among young workers, a tendancy observed since 2014. The Securex study is based on a sample of 27,405 employers and 238,090 private sector workers.