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Average absenteeism rate of May has decreased to pre-Covid-19 levels

Preventing Covid-19 cases is essential for the continuity of companies

In May 2022, the average absenteeism rate in the Netherlands decreased further, reaching 4.3% (compared to 4.8% in April 2022). This meant that the absenteeism rate of the past month was practically identical to pre-Covid-19 levels (4.2% in May 2019), according to our figures. However, in the beginning of June, the number of Covid-19 cases increased again. That is why we caution companies to stay alert and prevent contaminations at workplaces.

Practically all sectors back to previous rates

In April, after months of an increase in absenteeism rates, HumanCapitalCare and ArboNed finally witnessed the first turning point. In large companies, the average absenteeism rate of May decreased to 4.8% and in SMEs—companies with less than 200 employees—to 3.9%. “This decrease continued nationwide in all sectors, reaching a pre-Covid-19 average absenteeism rate,” says Jurriaan Penders, medical officer and director of medical affairs at HumanCapitalCare. The healthcare sector and the industrial sector were the only exceptions. Despite considerable decreases, the average absenteeism rate in the healthcare sector and industrial sector remained higher than before the pandemic (May 2019), 5.8% compared to 5.4% and 4.9% compared to 4.5%, respectively.

Number of Covid-19 cases is rising again

The National Institute for Public Health and Environmental Protection (Dutch: RIVM) has reported that the number of Covid-19 cases has been increasing since the beginning of June. Penders: “After an initial analysis, we also see this in our absenteeism rates. In the first week of June, more people reported sick again due to Covid-19. Yet, the circumstances are different each time. For instance, the current regulations differ from those earlier this year. In addition, absenteeism rates are usually lower in the summer and during the holiday period. These circumstances might prevent an increase in the absenteeism rates.”

Prevent contamination and overload

The tight labour market and the holiday period create staffing challenges in many companies. “The increase in the number of Covid-19 cases also increases the likelihood of absenteeism and contamination at workplaces,” Penders continues. “That is why it remains important to prevent contamination at workplaces as much as possible, for example by continuing to focus on hygiene measures and by taking advantage of the possibilities and benefits of working from home, for whom this is an option. We recommend continuing to closely examine priorities at work in order to prevent emotional and physical overload.”