Rates of sick leave in Switzerland reached record high in 2022

Rates of sick leave in Switzerland reached record high in 2022

New data from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has revealed that the amount of sick leave taken per worker reached a record high in Switzerland in 2022. Experts have argued that the higher rates of absenteeism were caused jointly by a rise in illness and a new post-pandemic attitude to working when sick.

Record absenteeism in the Swiss workplace

According to the findings, reported by SonntagsZeitung, people working full time in Switzerland missed an average of 9,3 days last year due to illness, accidents or personal reasons, a new record. Interestingly, rates of illness-related absence last year were 20 percent higher than during the main pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, and 34 percent more than in 2019.

In all, international companies and domestic Swiss businesses lost 291 million hours to employee absence last year. Illness (69,1 percent) was the most common single reason for leave, followed by “other reasons” (18) - strike, family or personal reasons, bad weather and quarantine - and maternity leave (7,1).

Illness and attitude to blame for record sick leave rates

Speaking to SonntagsZeitung, a spokesperson for the Federal Office for Public Health argued that the record absence rate was likely caused by the fact that the number of cases of flu rose by 64 percent in 2022 compared to 2019, the number of leisure and road accidents also increased, and there was a worrying rise in mental health diagnoses among young people.

A spokesperson for insurance provider Axa added that there has also been a change in people’s attitudes when it comes to working while ill, noting that “it is possible that the pandemic has heightened awareness of contagion, so that employees stay home more quickly in the event of illness.” Axa competitor Swica also told the newspaper that “a declaration of illness is made rather more quickly today” than in previous years.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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