One Belgian worker out of eight has already reported sick for another reason than for health, emerges from a HR Securex service provider survey, released Thursday.
The main reasons for these absences are a sick relative, recuperation, or work-life balance.
The main reason remains an illness in the family (31%). If family leave is possible in case of illness, accident or hospitalization of a loved one, it is unpaid and limited in time, which may be a reason why workers take sick leave, without actually being sick.
Furthermore, 17% of workers without health problems have already been absent for illness in order to rest after an intense work period. Commuting or difficulties in combining work and private life also represent 17% of this type of absences, as well as conflict with superiors or colleagues (13%), family problems (8%) or lack of motivation (7%).
One out of four young workers under 25 have already declared “false” sickness, which is twice as many as those over 25 (11%).
“Workers are probably not sufficiently informed of solutions provided by law to remedy unjustified absences,” Securex expert Els Vanderhaegen said.
The survey also points out how people evolving in a work environment “of trust, fairness and inclusion” will be less prone to take leave without health problems than those working in a tense atmosphere.
Solutions exist, Securex says, such as part-time work, flexible hours or teleworking. In case of a death or marriage, brief unemployment is also possible.
“The study results show that underlying problems can often be solved. It may be that the employee does is not familiar with the brief unemployment or family leave systems. Or he doesn’t realize that it is often better to talk about problems, rather than to just stay home,” absenteeism consultant Bart Buckinx concludes.