In the EU, 9.7% of employed people were temporary absent from work in the last quarter of 2019, while 12.0% of them were in this situation in the first quarter of 2020, which corresponds to an increase of 2.3 percentage points (p.p.).
Among the EU Member States for which data are available, the highest rates of temporary absences from work in the first quarter of 2020 were observed in France (18.1%), Sweden (16.2%) and Austria (15.0%), and the lowest rates in Romania (2.5%), Malta (3.3%), and Bulgaria (4.4%).
This is the first quarter in which the labour market across the EU has been affected by the COVID-19 measures taken by the EU Member States.
Spotlight on gender differences
Men and women in employment were not equally absent from work in the first quarter of 2020.
In all EU Member States, except Cyprus, shares of temporary absences from work were higher among women than men. The largest difference was observed in Lithuania, where the share of absences among women was more than two and a half times larger than among men (17.1% for women compared to 6.5% for men).
The gap between the absence rates for men and women was also large in Hungary (13.2% for women and 5.5% for men), Poland (12.1% for women and 5.1% for men) and Latvia (12.0% for women and 5.0% for men).