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Germany – Sickness absence higher among agency staff

01 March 2013

Temporary agency workers in Germany tend to take more sick days than other employees, according to local insurance company TK. This found that agency workers, on average, accumulated 17.8 days of sick leave last year, compared to 13.3 days among regular employees.

Muscular-skeletal and respiratory diseases were some of the main reasons why agency workers recorded longer sickness absences.

“One reason for the longer absence among temporary workers is that they are often used by companies to carry out more physically demanding tasks,” said Gudrun Ahlers from the TK.

“But is does not explain such a wide discrepancy. We know from surveys that job insecurity [and] the income situation are burdens.” The insurance company urged employers to create healthy work environments for workers.

A similar study in the Netherlands this week found that sickness absence among temporary agency workers has been on the rise because of uncertain economic conditions. Dutch short-term workers took 8.5 days of sick leave in 2012 with this figure being much lower than in Germany. 

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