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Sickness absence rate in the Netherlands 2001-2019

In 2019, the average employee in the Netherlands was sick for over four percent of his or her working days. This was slightly higher than the sickness absence rate in the past ten years: in the last decade, the rate fluctuated between 3.8 and 4.3 percent per year. Compared to other European countries, the absence rate in the Netherlands seems about average. The sickness absence rate in the Netherlands was slightly higher than for example in Denmark (3.5 percent in 2017), but lower than in Norway (5.6 percent in the second quarter of 2019).

 Commitment to the employer in the Netherlands 

  Employees who are happy with their working environment tend to have fewer sickness absence days. A 2018 survey asked respondents in the Netherlands how committed they feel to their employer. Less than one quarter stated to feel a strong commitment, whereas the majority felt at least somewhat committed. 26 percent answered to not feel particularly committed to their current employer.

Potential sources of dissatisfaction

   Especially in larger organizations, many employees had the feeling that they were insufficiently heard by the upper management. Whereas in organizations employing between 11 and 25 people, roughly one fifth stated to feel insufficiently heard. In companies with more than 100 employees this had increased to over 40 percent. A majority of employed personnel in the Netherlands also had the feeling they were underpaid. In the Dutch province Groningen, nearly 65 percent of employees surveyed in 2019 stated they believe they are underpaid. In Zuid-Holland the employees are most satisfied, but still nearly half thought their current salary was not close to what they should earn.

Sickness absence rate in the Netherlands from 2001 to 2019

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Release date

July 2020



Survey time period

2001 to 2019

Supplementary notes

The source defines the sickness absence rate as "the number of days employees are absent because of illness (excluding maternity leave) as a percentage of the total number of working or calendar days."

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