less frequent but longer stops

According to Mercer’s latest study on the subject, call centers, transportation and retail/commercial are the most affected sectors.

The absenteeism rate at companies decreased slightly in 2021 after an unprecedented 2020 marked by the advent of covid. It rose to 4.8% last year, up from 5% in 2020, according to the latest Mercer* study on the subject. But this is 0.2 points higher than in 2019, indicating a chronic increase over 15 years.

“Neutralization of the impact of self-isolation on absenteeism in 2020 left open the hypothesis of a change in the trend in absenteeism observed in 2019, but it was refuted in 2021,” we can read.

In particular, 36% of French employees were absent at least once for more than three days last year, compared to 39% in 2020 and 36% in 2019.

32 days on average, 2 days more than in 2019

On the other hand, the average duration of outages is longer: almost 32 days in 2021 compared to 30 days two years earlier. Outages between 6 and 90 days account for 67% of outages, up from 51% in 2019.

Call centers (11%), transport (6%) and retail/commercial (7%) were hardest hit. Just like companies with 3,000 to 5,000 employees (6.2%) compared to companies with less than 100 employees (3.3%).

At the same time, the absence of non-executive persons is 2.5 times greater than the absence of managers (3.1% versus 8.4%).

Conversely, in the Syntec, training or finance sectors, we see the least number of shutdowns.

Geographically, it is employees working in Normandy and Hauts-de-France that concentrate the most stops with a share of 7.6% (with a peak in Calvados at 8.9%) and 7%.

Normandy has the most stops, Brittany the least.

Conversely, Brittany remains in a better position than other regions with an absenteeism rate of less than 4%, as does Île-de-France with 4.3%,

Overall, 72% of these leaves are related to sickness, 14% to accidents at work or occupational disease, and 13% to childbirth.

With the exception of maternity leave, women still suffer more than men. The absenteeism rate rises to 5.5% for women with children, compared to 4.4% for women without children, compared to 3.7% for men with family responsibilities and 3.2% for men without children.

The age of the worker also affects the number of absenteeism. The latter steadily increases in men older than 30 years.

Women always suffer more than men

“While family responsibilities partly explain the absenteeism of 30-40 year olds, the fact of having to help the dependents of an older relative partly explains the absenteeism of employees aged 40 and over. In fact, 80% of caregivers are over the age of 40. and 58% women (OCIRP Study: Key Data on Carers in France),” the study highlights.

“One of the two main collateral damages of Covid is the increased mental workload that is seen on a collective and individual level. Stops for PSR reasons (psychosocial risks) have increased significantly and the reasons are clear: social distancing, uncertainty about the future, caring for children,” – comments Florian Bocognano, Product Proposal Manager, Mercer Marsh Beneses France.

“Other damages are clearly a consequence of 2020, marked by postural misalignment associated with forced and disorganized remote work, as well as reduced physical activity due to the closure of sports infrastructures. We are talking about musculoskeletal disorders that led to additional health costs ( physiotherapist, osteopath, etc.) and significant work stoppages in 2021,” he continues.

*: The purpose of this study is to analyze the overall absenteeism trends in France over the last 3 years (2019, 2020 and 2021) based on de-identified data from the Mercer client portfolio. The sample of this study is compiled as follows: 3254 holdings, including: 42% from industry, 31% from the tertiary sector; 21% from trade, 6% from other services. 400,000 employees of French companies, including: 58% men; 42% women.

Olivier Chishportish BFM Business journalist