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DAK: sick leave declining in the first half of 2014
In the first half of 2014, employees in Germany were sick much less frequently than in the first six months of 2013, according to the latest information from the health insurance company DAK-Gesundheit. Overall, the sick leave decreased from 4.1 to 3.8 percent compared to the same period last year. However, mental illnesses increased again and the average length of sick leave has increased, reports the DAK.
Decisive for the reduced sick leave was according to the DAK "the sharp decrease in respiratory illnesses such as cough, bronchitis or pneumonia." Here the wave of colds due to the cold winter last year caused the sickness rate to skyrocket. “It is gratifying that overall sick leave fell slightly again in the first half of the year. It is worth noting, however, that the number of mental illnesses against the general trend continues to increase, ”commented DAK CEO Herbert Rebscher on the results of the current evaluation.
Average length of sick leave increased
Overall, according to the DAK, a good third (34.2 percent) of all working people were on sick leave at least once in the first half of 2014. In the same period last year it was 38.7 percent. However, the average duration of an illness rose slightly compared to the previous year - from 11.6 days in 2013 to currently 12.2 days. According to the DAK, the causes of the incapacity to work are three diagnostic groups in more than half (53.1 percent) of the cases: musculoskeletal disorders, mental illnesses and colds. The most common reason was musculoskeletal disorders, with “more than every fifth day of absence (22.6 percent) caused by back pain or knee problems,” reports the DAK. The second most common cause of illness was mental illness. They accounted for 16 percent of all absenteeism. The number of cases of depression or anxiety increased by a good ten percent. According to the DAK, women were affected significantly more often than men. According to the health insurer, the common cold caused 14.5 percent of days lost (previous year: 22.1 percent).
Significant increase in mental illness
The drastic increase in sick leave due to mental illness is particularly worrying, according to the DAK CEO. “Companies should therefore invest in work organization and stress prevention to support their employees and keep them as healthy as possible,” emphasized Rebscher. According to information from the DAK, the Berlin IGES Institute developed the current sick leave analysis that used the data from 2.5 million employed DAK insured persons from the first half of 2014 for this purpose. Regional differences also became clear. For example, the working population from the eastern federal states with a sick leave rate of 4.7 percent overall is more often on sick leave than in the west (3.6 percent), reports the DAK. (fp)
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