Sick leave reaches its highest level

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Sick leave reached its highest level in 15 years

The number of sick reports reached its highest level in 15 years in 2011. Due to illness, employees missed an average of 13.2 days in 2011, according to the announcement of the German Employee Health Insurance Fund (DAK), citing the figures from their new health report.

The general increase in sick days is significantly influenced by a massive increase in mental illness, said the DAK. Demographic change is already taking effect here, continues the DAK health expert Herbert Rebscher. The workforce is on average much older than it was ten years ago, although older people are less likely to be ill than younger people, "but much longer," explained Rebscher.

Massive increase in mental illnesses According to the DAK, sick leave has reached its highest level in 15 years in the past year. The average sick leave in 2011 was 3.6 percent (13.2 absenteeism per insured person), which corresponds to an increase of almost an additional sick day compared to the previous year (2010: 3.4 percent absenteeism, 12.5 absenteeism). As the DAK announced on Tuesday in Berlin, citing its current health report, the development of mental illnesses is of particular concern to the experts. Mental illnesses are only in fourth place among the causes of diseases - behind diseases of the musculoskeletal system (21.3 percent of all sick days), diseases of the respiratory system (16.1 percent of sick days) and injuries (13.9 percent of sick days) . However, the greatest increase was observed in mental illnesses - from 12.1 percent in the previous year to 13.4 percent in the previous year - reports the DAK.

2.4 million sick leave evaluations As part of the health report, the experts evaluated around 2.4 million sick leave certificates of DAK insured persons and recorded the increase in sick leave shown. According to Herbert Rebscher, this also reflects the first signs of demographic change. Because the employees today are on average considerably older than ten years ago and correspondingly longer ill, said the DAK health expert. Rebscher emphasized that this development would continue in the coming years and thus lead to further increases in sick leave.

Sickness rates particularly high in public administration The health report also clarifies that there are significant industry-specific differences in sickness reports. The sick leave rate among employees in public administration was above average at 4.2 percent last year. The same applies to the healthcare sector (4.1 percent sick leave) and the area of ​​transport, storage, courier service (4.0 percent sick leave). The lowest were the sickness-related absences in the areas of education, culture and media (sick leave 2.7 percent), according to the figures in the health report.

Increased mental illnesses due to stress With the increase in mental illnesses, the DAK experts also pointed out that just under one in ten insured persons felt that they were receiving too little recognition for their work. This is felt by those affected as stress, which can quickly develop into a significant psychological burden and more than double the risk of heart attack. The cause of dissatisfaction at work is often extremely different. The range ranged from bullying, to time pressure and excessive workload, to insufficient earnings. All of these factors can in turn trigger stress and thus bring about health impairments, which are then reflected in the increased days of illness. (fp)

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Image: Verena N. /

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