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Labor market: Cash register: sickness absence from work at its highest level in 2023

Labor market: Cash register: sickness absence from work at its highest level in 2023

In many companies, offices and spaces remained empty last year because employees were not healthy. Figures are now available on the extent of this – the tense situation therefore continues.

According to an evaluation by the DAK-Gesund health insurance company, sickness absences from work have been at a significantly higher level for the second year in a row. Employees were absent from work for an average of 20 days in 2023, as the fund determined based on its own insured data. The sickness rate once again reached the record high of 5.5 percent as in 2022. An average of 55 out of 1,000 employees were on sick leave every day last year.

Treasurer Andreas Storm told the German Press Agency: “Even if the result does not come as a surprise after the waves of colds in spring and autumn, it is alarming for the economy.” The high level of absenteeism affects the work processes of many companies and authorities, especially when staffing levels become increasingly thin due to a shortage of skilled workers. Long-term cases are the biggest problem. What is needed is an “offensive for company health management”.

Coughs, colds, etc.

The DAK explained that the main reasons for the many absences due to illness last year were respiratory diseases such as colds, bronchitis and flu. There has also been an increase in mental illnesses. Overall, the sickness rate among those insured by the fund had already risen to 5.5 percent in 2022 and reached this level again in 2023. This is the highest value since the analyzes began 25 years ago. In previous years, sickness rates had been in the region of 4 percent.

Most of the days missed in 2023 were due to colds, as the analysis showed. Coughs, colds, etc. caused 415 days of absence per 100 insured people. Musculoskeletal diseases such as back pain led to 373 days of absence per 100 insured people and mental illnesses such as depression led to 323 days of absence. For the analysis, the Berlin Iges Institute reportedly evaluated data from 2.4 million employed DAK insured people in Germany.

Almost two thirds of employees (64.5 percent) had at least one sick note in the past year. 35.5 percent were not reported to be unfit for work at all. Looking at occupations, sick leave was particularly high in geriatric care (7.4 percent) and among daycare workers (7.0 percent) – and lowest in IT and communications technology at 3.7 percent.

Source: Stern

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