BACKGROUND Long-term sick leave by illeness is cause of financial expences and worker's loss of productivity. OBJECTIVE To evaluate the financial expense incurred by spinal disk herniation in health professionals. METHODS 3000 health professionals of the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social work in Tecate, Tijuana and Rosarito, cities of Baja California, Mexico. During 2009-2011, 1070 health professionals had long sick leave certificates and 48 had a cervical or lumbar disk herniation. We evaluated the total days of absenteeism in comparison with the absenteeism days suggested by the Medical Disability Advisor. RESULTS Of the 48 spinal herniated disks, 54% were cervical and 65% had surgical management. The mean (± SD) days of absence was 125 ± 84 and 24 (50%) of the spinal herniated disks exceeded the Medical Disability Advisor disability duration parameters, in 6 (26%), 12 (52%), and 5 (22%) patients due to no diagnostic concordance, diagnosis delay and residual pain, respectively. The total cost of the spinal herniated disks that extended outside of the Medical Disability Advisor disability duration parameters was 683,026 pesos versus 367,081 pesos of the spinal herniated disks that did not exceed the Medical Disability Advisor disability duration parameters. After 12 months of follow-up, 9 (18.8%) continue with sick leave and 2 (4%) had permanent disability. CONCLUSIONS In patients with a spinal herniated disk, the costs of subsidies were two-fold more due principally to a not diagnostic agreement.