Absences consist of the time during which a person is not at their place of work although they should normally be (illness, accident, maternity leave, military or civilian service, civil protection, reduction of working hours, labour dispute, personal and family reasons and bad weather). Holidays, public holidays and absences due to flexitime are not considered absences.

Absences due to health (illness or accident) represent the greatest volume of employees’ annual absences, followed by absences due to maternity leave and those for military or civil service.

The absence rate due to health of full-time employees, i.e. the annual hours of absences due to health as a percentage of annual working hours as per contract, varies depending on the economic sector: in 2018, the activities with the lowest rates were: Information and communication (2.0%), Financial and insurance activities (2.3%), and Professional, scientific and technical activities (2.3%). The highest rates were found in the construction sector (4.4%) and Transportation and storage (4.2%).

With the exception of “farmers and foresters” the absence rate due to health of full-time employees is closely related to the level of qualifications for the occupation carried out: the lowest rate is seen among the most highly qualified occupations whereas the highest rate is seen among less highly qualified occupations.

Further information

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Statistical sources and concepts


Federal Statistical Office Section Labour Force
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel



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