As we face one of the most aggressive bouts of seasonal flu in recent memory, it’s interesting to look at the differences in the share of total social benefits spent on paid sick leave across member states.
Countries in the EU spent over €138 billion on paid sick leave benefits in 2014, or 1 per cent of the EU’s total GDP, according to recent figures released by Eurostat.
There were several countries where sick leave benefits accounted for more than 5 per cent of total social benefits – topping the charts was Cyprus, at 8.5 per cent.
Cyprus was followed by Germany and the Netherlands (6.1 per cent) and Luxembourg (5.3 per cent).
The lowest shares were registered in Greece (0.7 per cent), Italy (1.2 per cent), Portugal (1.4 per cent) and Romania (1.6 per cent).
Malta’s share was around 3.1 per cent, less than the EU average of 3.6 per cent.
Social protection expenditure for paid sick leave represented 3.6 per cent of the total spent on social benefits and accounted for 12 per cent of total expenditure on the sickness/health care benefits.
Over the last few years, the share of social protection expenditure on paid sick leave benefits in the EU has increased slightly from 3.4 per cent in 2010 to 3.6 per cent in 2014.