Sickness Absence Increases Sharply

Sickness absence has increased by 11 percent in one year, show figures of The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV). This is the highest increase since 2000. Number of flu cases have doubled and sickness absence is now 7.7 percent.

– We have previously seen that the sickness usually goes something down about a year after unemployment began to increase. It has not happened during this downturn. Now we have a situation where sick leave is increasing faster than before. The increase in influenza sickness can explain one-third of the increase, “said Labor and Welfare Director Tor Saglie.

The self-reported sickness absence increased from 0.8 percent in the third quarter of 2008 to 0.9 percent in the third quarter of 2009, which corresponds to an increase of 10.6 percent. At the same time the physician reported sickness absence by 11 percent, from 6.1 percent to 6.9 percent. It is the most substantial increase has been recorded since the statistics were compiled in 2000.Hereinafter referred to only physician reported sick leave.

More flu sick

Part of the growth in the physician reported sickness absence is due to influenza epidemic. Diseases of the respiratory system accounts for 30 percent of growth, followed by musculo-skeletal disorders with 27.3 percent and mental disorders with 24.5 percent.

Increase higher for men

Sick leave increases by 13.2 percent for men and 9.1 percent for women. The highest increase found among men aged 30-49 years, where sickness absence has increased by 14.4 percent. Although sickness absence among men has increased most in the previous year, the women are still the highest absenteeism. In the third quarter, the sickness absence of 8.4 percent for women and 5.6 percent for men.

Building & Construction highest increase

In the third quarter, all industries except finance and insurance, there is an increase in sickness absence. The greatest increase was found in the construction sector, where sickness absence has increased by 20.5 percent in one year. Other industries with significant increases in sickness absence are property and technical services, with 18.5 percent and accommodation and catering business with 17.2 percent.

Private sector

The doctor reported sickness absence increased most in the private sector, where the increase was 12.6 percent. Sick leave is lowest in the civil service by 6.3 percent and highest in the county administration with 8.3 percent.

Strongest growth in Vest-Agder

Sickness absence increased by 17.4 percent in Vest-Agder. It was followed by Buskerud and Akershus with 14.6 percent and 13.4 percent. Most absences are found in Finnmark, with 8.3 percent. The lowest sickness absence occured in Rogaland by 5.5 percent.

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