In Dutch health care and welfare institutions 75% of the employees are women. On the whole, women are more frequently absent because of illness than men. In the Dutch health care and welfare sector workplace absenteeism is in fact higher than the national average: in 1997 the national average was 5.1 per cent, compared to 8.2 per cent in health care and welfare (CBS 1998). In this paper the results of a study among 1.600 employees in 34 health care and welfare institutions in the Netherlands are presented. The relation between workplace absenteeism on the one hand, and sex differences in employee attitudes towards work and absenteeism on the other hand are investigated. The results show that while sickness absenteeism among men and women is about the same, their attitude to work and absenteeism differs in some respects.