The number of long-term sick leave for municipal employees decreased last year despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Social Security Institution Kela paid about 14.5 million sickness benefits, which is about 5% less than in the previous year. This decrease was also reflected in the Kunta10 survey on employee sick leave.
The decline in sickness-related absences may be due to pandemic-related changes such as increased teleworking, decreased social contact, changes in work habits, and changes in the way people seek and receive treatment.
By Laura Pekkarinen, Keva ‘s research manager at the public sector pension agency, in 2020 fewer people retired due to disability than in previous years. The number of accidents at work also decreased in roles transferred to telework.
Every third day, sickness benefit in 2020 was paid due to mental health problems. Jenni BlomgrenKela’s research manager said it is important to monitor mental health absences both during and after a coronavirus pandemic.
Sick leave varies according to age and occupation
The public sector sick leave data held by Keva revealed differences in sick leave between different occupational roles.
By Jenni Ervasti, A senior researcher at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, the results of the Kunta10 survey and Keva’s sickness absence statistics show that the burden of the coronavirus pandemic has fallen the most on social and health care workers.
In contrast, fewer absentees in administration and planning were absent due to illness than before, which is explained by moving to telecommuting.
Sick leave for local government workers under the age of 30 increased in 2020 compared to 2019. Ervasti said that while the results were worrying, the increase can be explained by the fact that younger people often work in high roles on sick leave.
By age group, the most positive change has been in those over 50, where absences due to illness continue to decline.
Source: The Nordic Page