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Archivos de Prevención de Riesgos Laborales

On-line version ISSN 1578-2549


BENAVIDES, Fernando G. et al. Incidence of non-work-related sickness absence in Spain by economic activity of the company. Arch Prev Riesgos Labor [online]. 2017, vol.20, n.1, pp.14-25. ISSN 1578-2549.


The management of sickness absence due to non-work-related diseases in Spain has typically focused on the control of its duration. The goal of this study was to provide estimates for the incidence of sickness absence due to non-work-related diseases by economic activity to help shift the focus of management of sickness absence towards prevention.


Retrospective study based on 646,337 workers and 133,812 episodes of sickness absence started in 2009, from the Working Continuous Life Sample. Incidence rate and its 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated using Poisson regression models, crude and adjusted for age, company size, and occupational category, separately for men and women.


The overall incidence rate was 29.8 per 100 person-years;24.7 (95%CI: 24.5-24.9) in men and 36.3 (36.036.5) in women. By economic activity, the highest crude incidence rates in men were found in “Water supply, sanitation and wastes” (35.4) and “Health activities” (33.9);for women, “Health activities” (48.3), “Public administration” (41.2) and “Transportation and storage” (41.0) were the highest sectors.


Companies can compare their sickness absence incidence rates to these benchmark values to determine if they are within the expected reference range, which may guide management decisions more towards the prevention of sickness absence.

Keywords : occupational health; sickness absence; social security.

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