Female workers far more likely to take sick leave

Sneeze (Photo: mcfarlandmo / Wikimedia Commons). (Sneeze (Photo: mcfarlandmo / Wikimedia Commons))

Female workers are more likely to call in sick to work than their male counterparts, Statistics Netherlands reported on Tuesday. This difference is largest in the age group 25- to 35-years, where female workers are absent from work due to illness almost twice as much as men - 4.3 percent compared to 2.2 percent. According to the stats office, this can be attributed to illness during pregnancy and after childbirth.

In the younger- and older age groups, the difference in sick leave taken between men and women are much smaller. In the age group 15 to 25 years, sick leave among women lies around 2 percent, and in men just a fraction below that. This means that women in this age group on average take sick leave for two days in a hundred days. Among older workers between the ages of 55 and 65 years, sick leave is around 6 percent for both men and women.

As workers grow older, they take sick leave for longer. This applies to both men and women. The number of consecutive days of sick leave lies between one and five days in most age groups. The number of long-term sick leave, 20 days or longer, is higher among older workers. In the 55 to 65 age group, over 20 percent of sick leave lasts 20 days or longer. 

Looking at the number of people who call in sick, instead of the number of sick leave days, the sick leave picture in the age categories looks different. Employees between the ages of 25 and 35 years most often call in sick - last year 57 percent of women and 46 percent of men called in sick at least once. Young workers between 15 and 25 years call in sick least often. And after the age of 35, the number of sick workers start to decline again.