Mental health ‘sick days’ increase in EU state — RT World News

Finland will pay 900 million euros to workers who took sick leave in 2023, government data showed.

More than 100,000 people in Finland will receive extended sick leave from their employers due to mental health concerns in 2023, according to the Finnish Social Insurance Institution (Kela). This was the most common reason for missing work due to illness last year, the government agency said in a press release.

Mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression are becoming the most common cause of illness-related absences, Kela said, adding that its data showed an upward trend since 2016 – which includes a 3% increase in mental health work absences in 2023 compared to the previous year. .

“If we want to change direction” Jenny Blomgren, head of research at Kela, said: “It is important that we intervene in the working conditions and social structures that increase people's mental burden.”

Kela's analysis also showed that nearly half of the cases involved people diagnosed with anxiety, Blomgren said, and noted that the largest increase in such disorders was seen in people under 35 years of age.

Kela, which provides compensation for long-term absence from work after at least ten days of sick leave, said it would pay a total of about 15 million sick leave days in 2023 — a total of about 900 million euros ($980 million).

The government agency said that although a higher total compensation amount was paid last year, the number of beneficiaries was about 10,000 fewer than in 2022, a decline that Kela attributed to the decline of the coronavirus.

In 2023, the agency issued payments to about 4,000 people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 and were then unable to work. In 2022, about 18,000 people received the same benefits. Blomgren added that the impact of Covid-19 on Finnish society has never been the same as it is now “remarkably visible” As it was in previous years.

Under Kela's sickness allowance system, the agency will compensate workers who suffer a loss of income due to a medical problem. A doctor's certificate is required to access the benefits plan, and Kela will pay sick pay for a period not exceeding one year. If the worker is still receiving pay while sick, benefits are instead paid to the person's employer.

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