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More money spent on sick workers than the unemployed

Sick workers cost the authorities more than the unemployed, the De Tijd reported on Saturday. If we do not take into account special regimes like maternity leave, sick leave cost 6.4 billion euros in 2015, while unemployment benefit fell by 5.7 billion euros.

Health minister Maggie Block (Open Vld) thinks that this explosion in spending on sick workers is “a problem”. The increase is due to the higher and higher amount of long term absences. Belgium has 335,000 workers who have been on sick leave for more than a year: 8% of the work force. Sick leave doesn’t just affect older workers. More and more young people are suffering from burn-out, depression or back problems.

“This increase will cost an extra 1.8 billion euros between 2014 and 2019”, the minister said. “The human cost is also high: it has been scientifically proven that staying at home is not good for patients”.

(Source: Belga)