On 10 May 2022, Kela published an article stating that the number of sick leave days based on mental health disorders increased again in 2021. The report found that especially the number of sick leave days based on anxiety disorder, i.e., long sick leave, increased and among young women, the number of long sick leave days is already almost five times higher than in 2005.
There are various reasons for this development, but the figures cannot be blamed on the covid either, at least not entirely, as the increase in the number of daily allowance days based on mental disorders reimbursed by Kela stopped in the covid year 2020. The basic daily allowance makes it easy to track long periods of sick leave, as Kela usually pays this allowance only after the day of illness and the following nine working days, when the illness must have lasted almost two weeks.
In numerical terms, 2021 means that around 3% of the non-pensionable working-age population, or 95 000 people (an increase of 10 000 on the previous year), received sickness benefit for a mental disorder at least once. This is an increase of more than 60 % since 2016.
In total, 305 000 people received sickness allowance in 2021, so in terms of number of people, about a third of them were receiving it for reasons of mental disorder.
We will continue to fight to reduce sick leave, both short and long, in partnership with businesses and public organizations. Our goal is to help society halve the number of people on long sick leave for mental health reasons by 2025.
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