Sick leave in Norway is at its highest level since the swine flu in 2009

Sick leave in Norway is at its highest level since the swine flu in 2009

Sick leave in the third quarter in Norway amounted to 6.6%, seasonally adjusted figures show. Sick leave is now at the highest level since the swine flu in 2009, according to Statistics Norway (SSB). 

The increase in sick leave is mainly due to the fact that self-reported sickness absence has increased by 26.3%, while doctor-certified sick leave remains approximately unchanged.

Highest level since 2009

“Sick leave is now higher than at the start of the corona pandemic in 2020 and is at the highest level since the swine flu in 2009,” Tonje Køber, section manager for the labor market and wages at the SSB, said.

The number of flu and corona diagnoses has increased in the last two quarters and contributes to the high sickness absence, according to Køber.

The NAV’s calculations show that sick leave in the third quarter has increased by 4.3% from the previous quarter. Absence has increased more for men than for women, but women still have a higher absence.

Absence in the health sector

“Society is still affected by the corona pandemic, and this has an effect on sickness absence. Total sickness absence increased less this quarter than in the previous one, but is still higher than in a normal situation and is the highest we have had during the pandemic,” Director of Labor and Welfare Hans Christian Holte said.

If you look at absences certified by a doctor, men’s absence is virtually unchanged at 3.5% from the third quarter of 2020. However, women’s absence has increased by 5.8% to 6%.

Half of the lost work-days for women are among employees in health and social services.

“This is both about the fact that around one in three women works in this sector and that the health service has been under constant pressure through the pandemic, and this is shown in the sickness absence statistics,” Holte said.

2.1 million lost work-days

Health and social services had the highest sick leave in the third quarter, and the sector accounts for over 2.1 million lost work-days.

Compared with the same quarter in 2020, sick leave increased by 7.9% for women in this sector, while it increased by 2.2% for men.

Hotel and catering have the largest decrease in sick leave (-9.1) and now has an absence of 3.7%.

Wear and tear among health and social workers

Among diagnoses, “weakness/fatigue” has increased the most (+22.7) compared with the third quarter of 2020. The increase is greatest among women with 28.3%.

In particular, employees in health and social services and education have had a sharp increase in this diagnostic group in the last year.

“It is reasonable to think that it is due to wear and tear as a result of a prolonged pandemic,” Holte said.

Respiratory diseases have increased by 15.4% compared with the third quarter last year, while suspected or proven coronavirus has risen by 79.1%. Mental disorders have increased by 10.9%.

Highest absenteeism in Nordland

60–64-year-olds still have the highest sickness absence with 6.2%, but the largest increase (+8.5) is among 30–34-year-olds with a sickness absence of 4.8%.

Absence due to illness has increased in all counties, most in Trøndelag (+6.4) and Møre og Romsdal (+6.4) and least in the Inland (+1.6).

Nordland has the highest sickness absence (5.6), followed by Troms and Finnmark (5.2). Oslo has the lowest sickness absence (3.7).

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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