We are sick less often, but now risk succumbing to high work pressure


The number of sickness reports in April has almost halved compared to the record month of March, but absenteeism is still higher than before. Our country’s largest provider of occupational health and safety services warns that there are now mainly concerns about increased workloads due to the tightness of the labor market.

“Absenteeism remains high in a tightening labor market. This raises additional concerns for employers about increased work pressure and employee employability,” says Jurriaan Penders, Occupational Physician and Director of medical affairs at HumanTotalCare.

Sickness absences in the Netherlands have been increasing for months. The fact that this trend has now reversed is good news in itself. “In addition to the decrease in the number of reports of illness due to corona, influenza is also on the decline,” Penders said.

In March, eleven people for every 100 workers were sick at home. That fell to six in a hundred in April.

Yet last month there were even more sick people than before the pandemic. According to the health and safety service provider, this is partly due to the flu, which was still raging in the country in early April. And there is a small group of employees who have been out of work due to long term covid. “This group represents about 4% of the total number of sick leave reports.”

“Continue to encourage working from home wherever possible”

As for the future, the main concern is the tight labor market and, in its wake, the increase in the workload. The health and safety service provider is calling on employers to keep an eye on their staff. “Continue to encourage working from home wherever possible, so that employees have to travel less and can organize their own time.”

In order to avoid unnecessary psychological and physical overload, employers should also carefully consider what work really needs to be done at any given time and what can be postponed.

HumanTotalCare includes health and safety service providers ArboNed and HumanCapitalCare. They have a view of approximately 1 million employees of over 63,000 employers.

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