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    Increasing absenteeism in SMEs

    SMEs have been increasingly confronted, during recent years, with the phenomenon of absenteeism. The larger the company, the more frequent the absenteeism. The danger of “a culture of absenteeism” also threatens a lot of SMEs, according to a study by the specialist RH Securex.

    Absenteeism on the workplace increased in the private sector in Belgium last year. The total percentage of sick leave in companies of up to 1,000 employees went from 6.58% in 2016 to 6.88% in 2017. On an average day, 7 staff members were absent in 2017: 2 for less than a month; 2 for a month to a year, and close to 3 for more than a year.

    Long-term absenteeism (more than a year) is the main reason for this continuous increase. It went from 2.68% to 2.82%. Only absenteeism for less than a month remains stable.

    Securex notes that the number of absent staff members is an increasing phenomenon in large companies and in SMEs. In micro-companies (fewer than 10 persons), absenteeism is less frequent. “Where it exists, it is long-term,” stresses Securex.

    In the small SMEs, there persists a family culture, which disappears in the larger companies. “The larger the enterprise, the more the emphasis is placed on the hierarchy and the more the managers take care of the coordination of the work. In case of illness, the workers will feel less responsible for the work which is not done or which their colleagues will have to do.”

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times