Sick leave in Finland despite the pandemic

Sick leave in Finland despite the pandemic

The amount of sick leave compensation paid by the Finnish Social Insurance Institution (Kela) decreased by about 5 per cent last year, while the number of working days lost due to the coronavirus epidemic in Finland decreased greatly.

The Social Welfare Agency added that most of the benefits paid last year for sickness-related absences focused on mental health issues.

However, according to Kela, mental health-related conditions have been the most common reason for sick leave since 2018, but growth increased last year.

"Teleworking and the exclusion of society contributed to the reduction of sick leave," Kela’s research manager Jenni Blomgren wrote in a blog post.

The number of sickness benefit claims reimbursed by the agency initially rose sharply at the start of the pandemic, but then fell even more sharply, Blomgren added.

Women received more sick days than men

According to Kela’s data, in 2020 the agency paid an average of 4.5 days’ compensation for sick leave to every person aged 16–67 living in Finland.

Last year, women were paid an average of 5.1 sick days by population group and 3.9 days by men.

For both men and women, mental health issues were the main reason for the lack of work, but Blomgren said it was difficult to assess the impact of the epidemic on these figures.

"It is impossible to know exactly how the coronavirus epidemic has affected the changes. Of course, it seems clear that the epidemic contributed to a reduction in absenteeism last spring as telework increased and movement and gatherings were restricted." Blomgren said, adding that the figures showed that perseverance and fatigue remain a concern for both employers and employees.

"There have been indications from occupational health companies that mental health problems have increased towards the end of the year. This is entirely possible because year-end data are always a little late, as claims are made late," Blomgren stated.

Source: The Nordic Page





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