According to the Working Life Barometer 2020 published by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on 4 June 2021, the coronavirus pandemic had little effect on the physical and mental strain of work or work ability among all wage and salary earners. The level of stress or work exhaustion experienced also did not change significantly from 2019. However, there were clear differences between groups.
The positive effects of remote work are reflected in the results. Good work capacity helps people to cope with work and stay at work longer. Employees that do well are key to productive work and lasting careers, says Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen.
The number of sick leaves, in particular short sick leaves, decreased considerably from 2019. Of wage and salary earners, 63% had been absent from work due to their own illness in the previous 12 months in 2020, compared with 71% in 2019. The coronavirus pandemic affected in particular the sick leaves of higher-ranking salaried employees, whose absences fell by 13 percentage points from 2019.
The amount of discrimination at work has not changed significantly in the long term. Only the discrimination of older people has decreased slightly from the beginning of the time series. As in previous years, discrimination of employees on fixed-term employment relationship was the most common reason for discrimination (11%) in 2020, according to the responses in Working Life Barometer.
Due to the weakening economy, more wage and salary earners than before feel insecure about their jobs, which has led them to join employee organisations in increasing numbers. Conducted since 1992, the Working Life Barometer is a sample study that examines the development of the quality of working life from the viewpoint of Finnish employees.