Sick leaves due to mental disorders increased by half a million days

Mental disorders are now the most common reason for sickness allowance, according to Kela’s Pocket Statistics.

An increasing number of persons of working age are awarded sickness allowance due to mental disorders. In 2018, Kela paid sickness allowance for a total of 4.6 million days due to mental disorders. The number of days increased by half a million compared to the previous year; in 2017 the number of days was 4.1 million.

Mental disorders are now the most common ground for sickness allowance. Last year, about 74,300 persons of working age received sickness allowance on this ground. Since 2016 the number of persons who have received sickness allowance due to mental disorders has increased by more than a quarter (27%).

“The changes in working life and the increased work demands as well as structural changes in society may have an effect on the ability to cope with work”, ponders Jenni Blomgren, Head of Research at Kela.

“The developments may also have been affected by the improved economic and employment situation. Studies have shown that as the employment situation improves, sick leaves often become more common”, Blomgren says.

The number of long sick leaves increased

Last year, the number of long sick leaves and the related need for sickness allowance increased. Kela paid a total of 786.7 million euros in sickness allowance to 294,633 recipients. The previous year, the amount was 764.2 million euros and the number of recipients 286,630.

The second-most common ground for awarding sickness allowance is diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Last year, sickness allowance was awarded on this ground for 4.3 million days, which was the same as the year before.

Kela pays sickness allowance for long sick leaves of more than nine days.

Benefit statistics in pocket format – check Kela’s Pocket Statistics

These are just some of the facts found in Kela’s latest Pocket Statistics, a concise collection in pocket format of information about Kela-provided social benefits and their recipients. The statistics are for 2018, but some data for 2017 are included for comparison purposes.

The Pocket Statistics are available online, and the printed version will be released in June. The Pocket

Statistics are available free of charge. They are published in Finnish, Swedish and English.

Publication: Kela’s Pocket Statistics 2019. Helsinki: Kela, 2018. ISSN 0359-5218 (printed publication), ISSN 1457-8727 (e-publication).

Orders: Tel. 020 634 1502,

Read more