Contract workers are sick more often

Contract workers are sick more often

Temporary work causes employees to get sick more often

According to an internal evaluation by the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), temporary agency workers are more often on sick leave than employees in regular employment. Temporary workers are sick on average 17.8 days of the week, other social security providers are only 13.3 days on average, as the health fund announced on Thursday in Hamburg.

"Temporary work goes to the bone" is the conclusion of the analysis by TK. According to the study authors, agency workers with an average of 17.8 days lost per year are significantly more sick than employees in the conventional labor market with 13.3 days. "In all relevant diagnostic chapters, we recorded higher absenteeism for temporary workers in 2012," reports Gudrun Ahlers, who is responsible for health reporting at the health insurance fund.

Often injured, poisoned, or back pain
A closer look at the data reveals that temporary workers in particular suffer from low back or back pain or diseases of the musculoskeletal area. There is a difference of 47 percent here. However, respiratory diseases (+25 percent), injuries / poisoning (+ 62 percent) and mental illnesses such as depression or burnout (+ 22 percent) can be observed significantly more frequently in insured persons who are employed by a temporary employment agency than in other sectors.

"We know from surveys that job insecurity, the income situation and the discrepancy between working in temporary agency work and the actual qualifications are a particular burden," says Ahlers. According to the expert, this difference should also be seen in the context of sick leave. Many agency workers would have to do physically demanding work in their jobs, more than the permanent employees.

Temporary workers usually work harder than permanent employees
In view of the data and facts, the TK believes that "employees who work for a limited period in the company should be included in measures relating to occupational health management". In addition, it should “be a matter of course that the hiring companies create a healthy working environment for all employees. But it is also important that temporary employment agencies further qualify their employees during breaks and promote their health, "explains Ahlers.

The evaluations were carried out as part of the health report of the Techniker Krankenkasse. All sick leave and pharmaceutical data of the approximately 3.9 million people insured with the TK who are gainfully employed are recorded. This also includes employees subject to social security contributions and recipients of unemployment benefit I. Not included are recipients of Hartz IV benefits, pupils and co-insured persons. The health reports of the health insurance companies have been following a new standardization since 2013. Because of this, it is not possible to compare the current data with the figures for the reporting years before 2011. (sb)

Also read:
Massive increase in temporary agency work in nursing
More absenteeism due to mental illness

Image: Guedo /

Author and source information

Video: Coronavirus: How casualisation of the workforce has made the pandemic worse. 7NEWS (September 2020).