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Absenteeism Cost Slovenia Up to EUR 900m in 2009

Ljubljana, 08 March (STA) - Absenteeism in Slovenia was on the decrease between 2000 and 2008, and then increased again last year, according to figures released by the Health Insurance Institute (ZZZS). Slovenians were on a sick leave for over ten million working days, which cost the society between EUR 850m and EUR 900m.

The number of days of absence from work because of sickness or injury increased in 2009 by 0.3 of a percentage point compared to the year before. Despite this, the amount of compensations paid out by the ZZZS were virtually level compared with 2008.

According to the institute which manages public funds for health care, between 38,500 and 39,000 workers on average are absent from work on a daily basis because of sickness or injury.

The ZZZS estimates that in 2009 absenteeism generated a cost of about EUR 430m through sick leave compensations paid out by ZZZS and employers, while the indirect cost is estimated at between EUR 850m and EUR 900m.

In 2008, sick leave compensations paid out by the ZZZS amounted to EUR 201m, which was 9.1% of its total expenditure and 0.56% of Slovenia's GDP. The figure increased by EUR 0.7m last year, according to the ZZZS.

The share of costs of absenteeism covered by employers stands at 55%, while the rest is covered by the ZZZS.

The most frequent reason for sickness absence is diseases of the muscular and skeletal systems and connective tissues, the ZZZS said, adding that the number of sick leave days in this respect increased in 2008 by 3% year on year.

The institute also urged employers to create a healthy working environment and encourage their employees to live healthy life styles to prevent absenteeism.

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