Absenteeism at FSE keeps rising, cause unknown
Cause is difficult to pinpoint
Absenteeism at FSE keeps rising
Absenteeism among staff at the science faculty has doubled over the course of the past six years. In 2014, staff members were absent 0.9 percent of the time, while now, that number is 1.8. Among women, absenteeism has risen from 1.2 percent to 2.9. Among PhD candidates, the increase is even larger: it went from 0.9 to 2.6 percent.
Support and managerial employees call in sick most often: their percentage rose from 3.5 to 5.7. Once again, the number is much higher among female employees.
Theodora Tiemersma with the FSE faculty service acknowledges the problem. ‘We’ve spoken about it with our medical officer. The board is also worried. But it’s frustrating, since we can’t figure out what’s causing it.’
Obviously, work stress is playing a role. Tiemersma has also noticed that especially young researchers call in sick a lot. That’s not just PhD candidates, but also postdocs.
‘Academics in the early stages of their careers’, she says. ‘Everything is happening at once to them. They’re stressed because they have to present their work, but they’re also starting a family at the same time. It’s a lot to keep up with.’
Finding a solution isn’t easy. Over the past few years, the faculty has come up with various programmes, like ‘efficient working’ or ‘how to lead’. ‘But not a lot of people show up to those courses.’ Tiemersma also wonders if the people who do show up to courses like that are the ones that need them the most.
Absenteeism at the UG in general has not gone up as fast as at the faculty. The absenteeism rate has remained the same among academic personnel. But among administrative and support staff, absenteeism has gone up from 4.2 percent in 2014 to 6.4 percent now.