CEXS-UPF: The economic crisis accentuates the existing gender differences in periods of time off work

CEXS-UPF: The economic crisis accentuates the existing gender differences in periods of time off work

News from CEXS-UPF

The Center for Research in Occupational Health at Pompeu Fabra University (CiSAL) has conducted a study, published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, to determine the impact that the global economic crisis has had on the health of workers, focusing on the duration of work absences due to illnesses in principle unrelated to work, so-called common illness sick leave.

To conduct the research, the scientific team led by Fernando G. Benavides, principal investigator at CiSAL, compared data from eight mutual insurance companies covering nearly one million workers in total during 2006 and 2010. In general, the results of the research show a rise in common illness sick leave taken: it went from 441,689 episodes in 2006 to 541,419 in 2010. This increase was most notable in the case of women, where the number of episodes of sick leave increased by more than 50%. However, research shows that the duration of these episodes in women decreased. " Many women who were dedicated to childcare and housekeeping have been pushed to enter the labour market, due to the lack of income in the family", say the authors. " 

Experts have seen that the most common diseases related with absence from work due to illnesses not occurring in the workplace are musculoskeletal, respiratory and infectious. However, the illnesses that cause the longest periods of absence are mental disorders. Benavides' team highlights the presence of an increase in the number of cases of absence due to mental disorders in 2010. This increase has doubled in the case of women.

More information:
CEXS-UPF Website

Reference work:
Murcia López G, Delclós Clanchet J, Ubalde López M, Calvo Bonacho E, Benavides FG. Has the Spanish economic crisis affected the duration of sickness absence episodes? Social Science & Medicine Volume 160, July 2016. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.05.009

M Marta Arcas, George L Delclos, Isabel Torá-Rocamora, José Miguel Martínez, Fernando G Benavides. Gender differences in the duration of non-work-related sickness absence episodes due to musculoskeletal disorders. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, May 2016. doi:10.1136/jech-2014-204331