Francisco Mesa M.
Ana María Kaempffer

Background: The issue of medically justified work absenteeism has a greatrelevance in Chile at the present moment. Aim: To analyze sick leaves among people working in hospitals, mines, automotive industry and universities. Material and methods: Analysis of 14 thesis and research papers about absenteeism in Chile. The incapacity rate (number of days with sick leave per worker per yea), the frequency rate (number of sick leaves per year per worker) and the severity rate (mean duration of sick leaves) were calculated. The diseases causing the highest rates of absenteeism were also recorded. Results: The mean age of the studied populations was 36 years old and the most common diseases causing absenteeism were respiratory, rheumatologic and trauma. Hospital workers had the highest incapacity rate with 14.3 days of sick leave per worker per year, followed by mining industry with 12 days, automotive industry with 7.1 days and universities with 6 days. Conclusions: In Chile, respiratory diseases are the main cause of sick leaves and hospital workers have the highest incapacity rate (Rev Méd Chile 2004; 132: 1100-8).