For 22% of absent employees, the absence was (partially) due to work

This and more is clear from what was recently published National Survey of Employment Conditions (NEA) 2023 – Results at a Glance From TNO and CBS, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. More than 60,000 employees completed the NEA 2023 survey.

Eight in ten employees (79.5%) said they would be (very) healthy in 2023. Men rated their health as (very) good slightly more than women, at 81% compared to 78%.

Employees aged 65 or older feel healthier than people aged 55 to 65.

Good health is less common among older age groups: 75% of employees aged 55 to 65 feel (very) healthy compared to 84% of employees aged 15 to 25. On the other hand, employees over the age of 65 are more likely to feel healthy than people aged 55 to 64.

Of all employees, 35.5% indicated they had a long-term illness, condition or disability. According to 70% of employees, these conditions were not a result of work, but for 22% this was (partially) the case. Some employees also experienced disruption in their work due to a chronic illness, condition, or disability, 15% to a slight extent and 3.3% to a great extent.

Absenteeism decreased

Absenteeism will also decline in 2023, from 5.6% to 5.3%, according to information provided by businesses and organizations in CBS’s quarterly absenteeism survey. Absenteeism rate is the total number of sick days for an employee, as a percentage of the total number of work days available for the same employee in the past year.

The NEA’s absenteeism rate – based on own employee reports – decreased from 5.2% to 4.8% between 2022 and 2023. The percentage of absenteeism among women was higher than that of men, reaching 5.7% compared to 3.9%. This was much lower among employees under 25 years of age (2.7%) than among employees aged 55 to 65 years (6.5%).

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Absence by sector

Considering the sector in which employees work, the rate of absenteeism also varies. This percentage was lowest in agriculture (2.8%) and highest in health care (6.3%). The absenteeism rate decreased between 2022 and 2023 due to fewer employees being absent. In 2023, 51% of employees were absent due to illness at least once a year, compared to 58% the previous year. Employees who were absent did so on average for more days than they had the previous year.

Average number of days absent

The average number of days of absence for absent employees was 17 days in 2023, compared to 16 days in 2022. These days of absence can be spread across multiple absences. By comparison, employees who were absent did so for an average of 19 days in 2021 and 17 days in 2019.

Flu or a cold was the most common complaint for most recent absences: 53.5% of employees who had been absent in the past 12 months cited this as the main reason. At a reasonable distance, with 5.7% of all employees, psychological complaints, including stress and fatigue, followed.

For 7.8% of employees who had been absent from work in the past 12 months, health complaints during their most recent absence were primarily work-related. For another 14%, complaints were partly attributable to work.

Leading cause of employment complaints, 2023

Employees who were absent in the past 12 months cited work overload, pollution at work and physically stressful work as the main reasons for absenteeism with work-related complaints. Compared to 2022, work-related absenteeism was less common as a result of contamination at work.

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Complaints related to the arm, neck, or shoulders (CANS)

In 2023, 43% of all employees indicated that they had experienced (long-term) complaints of the arm, neck or shoulders (CANS). Women suffered from this more than men (50% vs. 35%). On average, complaints related to the shoulders (31%) and neck (29%) were mentioned most often. Complaints involving the wrists or hands (16%) and arms or elbows (13%) were less common.

Furthermore, 38% of employees indicated that they had suffered from long-term or multiple back problems in the past year, and 28% had problems with their hips, legs, knees or feet.

Modifications to the workplace or activities

Two-thirds of all employees (67%) indicated that there is no need to make (additional) adjustments to the workplace or business in relation to their health. This percentage is slightly higher than in 2022 (64%). The most requested modifications were modifications to utilities or furniture (16%) and to workload (12%).

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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