Absenteeism in Belgium: download the research paper - AG Employee Benefits
Download the research paper on absenteeism in Belgium

Published on 24/03/2021


Absenteeism in Belgium: download the research paper

Absenteeism, a.k.a. long-term sick leave, can have a huge impact on your organisation. Together with The VIGOR Unit, AG delved deeper into the cost of absenteeism in Belgium. What are the causes and consequences? And what can you do to prevent it? You’ll find out in the extensive "Research Report on Absenteeism". 

460,000*. That's how many workers were on incapacity leave for one year or more at the end of June 2020. A large number of long-term sick leave cases can be attributed to stress, often in the form of burnout syndrome. And while we're in the grip of the coronavirus crisis, we don't expect to see a rapid improvement any time soon. All the more reason to delve deeper into the occupational incapacity phenomenon in Belgium.

Pressing questions about absenteeism

Via an extensive survey of 1,000 employees and an in-depth scientific literature review by The VIGOR Unit (a UGhent spin-off), our objective was to provide answers to a few pressing questions:

  • What is the cost of absenteeism to your business?
  • What can you do to prevent long-term sick leave?
  • What risk factors increase the likelihood of absences?
  • What role can a wellbeing policy play at your company?
  • How do you roll out a wellbeing policy?

Striking findings

The employee survey revealed some striking findings:

  • One in five employees do not feel good at work. And in organisations that are perceived by employees to be very business-like (>< caring), this figure even goes up to nearly one out of two. 
  • This organisation's identity (business-like vs caring) also plays an important role in absenteeism. If an organisation is seen as caring, the likelihood of absences due to stress is much lower than in business-like organisations.  
  • Nearly 25% of the employees surveyed think that it is highly likely that they will be unable to work for more than one month in the coming three years due to stress.
  • The most common triggers leading to absenteeism are stress, a decline in physical or mental wellbeing, and aspects of the specific work context.
  • While some triggers are beyond the employer's control, in other cases the right approach can make a significant difference. The role of the employees themselves also plays an important part.

Preventing absenteeism through a robust wellbeing policy

The scientific literature review clearly shows that a holistic and sustainable wellbeing policy is needed to prevent long-term absences. With a combination of preventive measures that focus on aspects such as employee lifestyle and mental wellbeing, and curative measures such as a carefully crafted return-to-work policy, you have the tools you need to help win the fight against incapacity for work.​

Download the Research Report on Absenteeism free of charge​

​Interested in reading the complete research report on absenteeism in Belgium? Download the paper for free via the button below. AG Health Partner and AG Employee Benefits will then be happy to help you set up and roll out a carefully crafted wellbeing policy at your company.

*Source: INAMI/RIZIV (2020)​​​