Absenteeism rate reaches record, unclear if coronavirus was to blame

Flu thermometer.

Flu thermometer.The number of people off work sick in the first three months of this year reached a record 6.3% of the working population, national statistics office CBS said on Friday.

The absenteeism rate in the first quarter of 2021, when coronavirus was also raging, was 4.8%.

The healthcare sector was the most seriously affected with an absenteeism rate of 8.9% – which means 89 of every 1,000 working days were not actually worked because of illness. The figure was lowest – 3.4% – in financial services.

The figures are derived from an annual survey of employers and do not show why people were off work.

However, a survey by the CBS and research institute TNO last year found that workers were most likely to blame flu or a cold for being off work, followed by psychiatric complaints such as burn-out.

Some 8% blamed coronavirus and said it had been confirmed by a test. A further 12% took time off work because they had coronavirus symptoms.

Some 11% of healthcare workers who took time off were confirmed to have coronavirus, as were 9% of construction sector workers and 8.6% of people in the retail trade.

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