long-term sichkness absence
Income Protection

The figures behind long-term sickness absence

A growing phenomenon

​For many people, one of the side effects of long-term occupational incapacity is a substantial loss of income. As statutory Illness-Disability benefits are limited , recipients are quickly left with a replacement income that is often lower than their initial salary. Over the past few years, the number of long-term sicknesses has been rising at an alarming pace.

Key figures

Between the ageing working population, higher retirement age and increasing stress levels at work, our minds and bodies are under greater pressure than ever before, as reflected in the following statistics:

• In 10 years’ time, the number of long-term occupational incapacity cases in Belgium has risen by 64%.
• Belgium has over 300,000 incapacity benefit recipients.
• Mental disorders account for 35% of all long-term sick leave cases, and this is a rising trend.
• 1 out of every 4 workers in Belgium flirts with a burnout in the next year.
• Only 36% of workers in Belgium with burnout syndrome make it back to workplace in the first year.

Other factors

Mental distress is not the only cause of long-term sickness absence. Critical illnesses (such as cancer) or lower back pain and other back problems due to poor sitting posture and remaining seated for prolonged periods of time are also major contributing factors.

In addition, there are roughly 100,000 children born in Belgium every year. Once the baby is born, post-natal maternity leave is also a perfectly valid reason to stay home from work.