An increasing number of persons of working age are awarded sickness allowance due to mental disorders.
In 2018, the Finnish Social Security Institution (Kela) paid sickness allowance for a total of 4.6 million days due to mental disorders. The number of days increased by half a million compared to the previous year; in 2017 the number of days was 4.1 million.
Kela has just published on its website the last assessment on sick leaves and its costs in terms of public subsidies. According to this information, mental disorders are now the most common ground for sickness allowance.
Last year, about 74,300 persons of working age received sickness allowance on this ground. Since 2016, the number of persons who have received sickness allowance due to mental disorders has increased by more than a quarter (27%).
Changes in working life
“The changes in working life and the increased work demands as well as structural changes in society may have an effect on the ability to cope with work”, ponders Jenni Blomgren, Head of Research at Kela.
“The developments may also have been affected by the improved economic and employment situation. Studies have shown that as the employment situation improves, sick leaves often become more common”, Blomgren says.
Number of long sick leaves increased
Last year, the number of long sick leaves and the related need for sickness allowance increased. Kela paid a total of 786.7 million euros in sickness allowance to 294,633 recipients. The previous year, the amount was 764.2 million euros and the number of recipients 286,630.
The second-most common ground for awarding sickness allowance is diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Last year, sickness allowance was awarded on this ground for 4.3 million days, which was the same as the year before.
Kela pays sickness allowance for long sick leaves of more than nine days.