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Sickness absence

The sickness absence rate at NS was 6.6% in 2019 (2018: 6.0%), which signifies a further increase. This can be attributed to a variety of causes, including an ageing staff population, many years of service within the same position and little inflow of new staff. Much of the absenteeism at NS involves long-term absence. The frequency of sickness reports and the number of employees who never reported sick throughout 2019 are both close to the Dutch average. However, those that do fall ill are more likely to remain ill for a prolonged period of time (i.e. longer than six weeks). In that respect, sickness absence at NS deviates from the Dutch average: over 80% of sickness absence at NS concerns long-term absence compared with 50% for the country as a whole.
We have set up a task force to launch supplementary actions to reduce this figure and to provide additional guidance in cases of long-term absence, with additional support from the Occupational Health & Safety Office. NS also works on increasing staff employability, in cooperation with managers and staff. We do so, for example, by giving our employees preventive insight into their personal vitality and a personalised plan of action to improve it. In 2019, we also completed our investigation into the workload of the chief guard's job. The results will be discussed internally with a group of stakeholders with the aim of drafting a targeted plan of action.

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