Sick leave: Mental illness continues to cause many days off

Employees report sick less often - Many days off due to mental illness
Last year, absenteeism due to mental illness reached a new record level. In the first half of 2017, mental illnesses also caused numerous absenteeism. Overall, however, the workers reported fewer illnesses during this period.

Mental illnesses cause many days off
German workers are sick on average around 15 days a year. Mental suffering is a common reason why employees cannot go to work. A few months ago, the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) reported that six mental illnesses were among the top twelve diagnoses for sick leave. A recent DAK Health report also showed that such diseases cause many days of absence.

Employees reported sick less often
According to a message from the DAK, employees in Germany reported fewer illnesses in the first half of 2017 than in the previous year.

The sick leave rate was 4.3 percent, according to the latest analysis of DAK health. This means a slight decrease of 0.1 percentage points compared to the first half of 2016.

63.5 percent of working people have not been on sick leave so far, more than one in three (36.5 percent) at least once.

Musculoskeletal disorders, colds and mental illnesses have the largest share of sick leave. Every second day of absence was due to one of these three types of illness (55 percent).

Back problems and other musculoskeletal disorders
According to the information, back ailments and other musculoskeletal disorders rank first in the absenteeism statistics. Every fifth day of absence was justified (21 percent).

Back pain and the like make up a larger share of sick leave in men than in women (23.5 vs. 18.5 percent).

This is followed by diseases of the respiratory system with an 18 percent share of total sickness. Mental illnesses led to almost as many days lost: their share of sick leave was 15.6 percent (first half of 2015: 15.9 percent).

Women were more likely to be on sick leave than men with such a diagnosis. Those affected were out for a particularly long time: on average, it was 34.7 days.

The federal comparison shows that working people in the eastern federal states were on sick leave of 5.5 percent more often and longer on sick leave than in western Germany (4.2 percent).

While 43 percent of employees in the east reported at least once by the middle of the year, it was only 35.7 percent in the west. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: COVID19: Global Mental Health in the Era of Social Distancing (January 2022).