The mutual collaborators of Social Security protect 18,556,113 workers, 80% of employees and self-employed workers registered in the social protection system. In its report on absenteeism from work in the first nine months of the year, there were 4,066,590 sick leave, which represents a growth of 436,408 workers, and 12% in relative terms.
Of these sick leave, due to temporary disability due to a common illness, 100,939 have a duration of more than one year. This is the highest number since the end of 2020, which was the year of the coronavirus pandemic.
Of these sick leave, 32,300 daily processes exceeded 18 months, which exceeds the time of temporary sick leave and is considered permanent. The annual expense of these sick leave for Social Security, with an average duration of 612 days, is more than 630 million euros. Sick workers with a duration of more than two years, with permanent sick leave, were 3,100, with a cost for Social Security of 60 million euros.
In any case, according to the report from the AMAT employers' association, the highest cost, in particular, for companies, is in what workers who are absent from work every day potentially stop producing. That is, what is called the opportunity cost. Thus, the total cost so far this year of absenteeism from work is around 142,000 million euros, taking into account the aforementioned opportunity cost, the direct costs of companies and Social Security expenses.
In the same way, the mutual societies calculate that 1,371,991 workers were absent from the company every day last year. The figure is estimated taking into account the average working day and the hours lost from work due to absenteeism.
For all these reasons, and to cut company spending, mutual insurance companies demand from the new Government the ability to "carry out comprehensive health management" of sick leave resulting from common illnesses and non-occupational accidents. The collaborating entities of Social Security thus request the ability to register workers for this type of leave. Now they can't do it. In addition, they have opposition from the unions to this reform.
The mutual societies estimate that if they could manage comprehensive health care for workers on sick leave, they could be discharged in half the time and, therefore, Social Security and companies could save 2,370 million euros per year: 1,565 million due to savings in Social Security benefits and 806 million for companies.