Women run double the risk of long-term sick leave

The number of long-term sick leave in Sweden is decreasing. This is shown in a new report from Afa Försäkring.

But it is unclear whether we have thus become healthier. And women are affected twice as often as men.

– It’s probably a high workload. Then we have work at home as well, which can make you stressed, says Marianne Karlsson, chief protection officer and elected official at Kommunal in Gothenburg.

Afa insures employees in municipalities and regions and has now summarized its data on work injuries and sick leave in 2022.

Overall, the number of sick leave of at least 30 days has decreased steadily since 2015. From 27.4 per 1000 workers to 19.6. But that does not automatically mean that we have become healthier.

– We put it in connection with applying the rules differently at Försäkringskassan.

And judges harder, says Anna Weigelt, head of analysis at Afa Försäkring.

Women twice as often affected

According to the report, women are affected twice as often as men and the most common diagnosis is psychological, such as stress or depression. Employees of municipalities or regions in particular, such as healthcare workers, are at increased risk.

– We need more staff, above all. I see several colleagues who go down in time to be able to work. They can’t bear to work full-time even though they could actually do it. It’s not right, says Marianne Karlsson, chief protection officer and elected representative at Kommunal in Gothenburg.

“Costs for society and employers”

Afa Försäkring does not expect any rapid change in the numbers, but believes that sick leave needs to be both shorter and fewer.

– Of course it causes personal suffering. And it costs a lot of money for both society and employers. So it’s clear that we would all feel better if more people were healthy enough to go to work, says Anna Weigelt.