Corona year survey: Estonians don’t stay at home when sick as they’re afraid of losing money

[Tiia Prööm | 15.07.2021 :]

A quarter of Estonian people have gone to work when sick during the last year as they’re afraid of a decrease in their income and don’t want to let down their colleagues at work, reveals the recent survey carried out by Seesam.

Entrepreneurs and people living in Ida-Viru County went to work when sick the most during the last year. People of retirement age stay away from work the most when they fall ill.

“The survey indicates that Estonians are tough cookies for whom taking sick leave is the last resort,” said Tiia Prööm, Marketing Manager at Seesam. “It’s understandable that people are afraid of their income decreasing, but there are also people who don’t want to let their colleagues or clients down or are worried about what their employer will think if they go on sick leave because of mental health issues.”

Those who continued going to work when sick admitted that taking sick leave would’ve meant letting their colleagues down and losing some of their salary. Labourers and office workers worried about the decrease in their salary the most – as many as 60% responded that they cannot take sick leave because it would reduce their income.

Three-quarters of respondents aged 25-34, however, worried about their colleagues, who would suffer in the case of their absence and have to cope with a bigger workload.
Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, were concerned about their clients – 75% of the entrepreneurs who responded went to work when sick as they didn’t want to let down their clients.

“The reasons for going to work when sick are different among men and women,” said Prööm. “For example, a quarter of women and only one-tenth of men admitted that their employer’s attitude towards people taking sick leave was negative. On the other hand, men were more worried about letting down their clients than women – 35% and 18% of respondents, respectively.”

An interesting find revealed by the survey was that one-fifth of those who went to work when sick feel that mental problems are not considered a real illness and this is why people don’t take sick leave in order to deal with mental health concerns. Office workers felt this more than others as 31% of them agreed with the aforementioned statement. A little over a quarter of respondents, however, feel that their employer doesn’t care about their health at all.

According to Seesam’s representative, the survey also revealed that people actually expect their employers to contribute to their health with an exercise benefit or health insurance in addition to being understanding. “38% of respondents would like their employers to cover their health-related expenses and 39% find the existence of an exercise benefit important,” said Prööm.

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Insurance is provided by Compensa Vienna Insurance Group, ADB Estonian Branch, which operates under the Seesam trademark in Estonia. Before concluding policies, please read the terms and conditions at and consult an expert if needed.
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