Due to the new corona wave in the last two months of 2021, absenteeism in the Netherlands was “exceptionally high.” In December, according to the figures, absenteeism was slightly lower than the month before; 4.9 percent from 5.1 percent in November.
The decrease in December is probably due to the fact that more people were already at home due to the lockdown and Christmas holidays. It was actually expected that these two factors would influence the figures, says Jurriaan Penders, company doctor and director of medical affairs at HumanCapitalCare.
According to health and safety services ArboNed and HumanCapitalCare, a relatively large number of people were temporarily out of work, especially in healthcare, industry, education and construction. More than a third of the sick reports at companies across the board were because of corona.
Supermarkets concerned about the consequences of failure
Insurer Interpolis, part of Achmea, has also noticed that absenteeism has risen sharply in recent months. In December, the company even received more than 3,500 sick reports from employers who are customers of the insurer. This number may increase because notifications for December can still be submitted. The number is already more than half the number of reports in December over the past three years. The average duration of absenteeism was 28 days. That is also significantly longer than before.
Earlier this week, several large Dutch companies, for example KPN and ING, already announced that there were more corona infections among their staff. However, the higher absenteeism has not yet led to serious problems. Supermarkets have already sounded the alarm, because of the strict quarantine rules. They are experiencing increasing scheduling problems due to the loss of personnel who have to be quarantined.
Absenteeism from office work is relatively low
Now that the holidays and lockdown are over, Penders thinks absenteeism will rise again. “The number of corona infections remains high. And despite the fact that we get sick less due to the omikron variant, workers still fall out for a few days.”
According to Penders, it is no coincidence that absenteeism mainly occurs in a few specific sectors. “These are sectors where employees work according to a duty roster and almost always on location,” the expert says. A corona infection in a colleague therefore has more impact.
According to the occupational health and safety services, absenteeism was lowest at financial institutions and in business services, which often involve office work.