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SYKEFRAVÆ årsaker til sykefrav

Striving for excellence, learning to cope? - Employer strategies for managing sick leaves and employee health over the decades

Awarded: NOK 8.1 mill.

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Project Period:

2013 - 2017


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During the reporting period, work has focused on sub-project 2.3.1 (on sick pay schemes) and 2.3.3 (sickness absence behavior and retirement), and to a certain degree, sub-prosjekt 2.3.6 (on social interaction, including gender differentials). Papers have been finished on the two former sub-projects, Higher replacement rates often imply higher levels of absenteeism, yet even in generous welfare economies, private sick pay is provided in addition to the public sick pay. Why? Using comparative workplace data for the UK and Norway Bryson and Dale-Olsen show in the paper Does Sick Pay Affect Workplace Absence? (presented at COPE2017) that the higher level of absenteeism in Norway compared to UK is related to the threshold in the Norwegian public sick pay legislation. This threshold?s importance is confirmed in a Regression Kinked Design (RKD) analysis on the Norwegian micro-data. Private sick pay is provided as employer-provided non-wage benefits and when training costs are high. Increased ageing contributes to concerns regarding the funding of the welfare state. A means to reduce public spending is to try to delay disability retirement. In Effects of Norwegian companies? initiatives to postpone retirement (presented at ESA 2017) Midtsundstad and Nielsen investigate whether interventions targeting employees with poor health contributes to de-layed disability. The interventions are less demanding work; more flexible work, increased on the job training and reduced work hours. We use linked survey and register data to investigate whether individual disability risk have evolved differently in establishments with such interventions compared to establishments without interventions. We find that disability risk decrease more with age in establishments with interventions in place that in companies not offering such interventions.

The project analyses how employers' strategies for managing sick leaves and employee health have changed over the decades, and how these changes have affected workers' sick leaves and withdrawal from the labour market. Such changes may be essential to i dentify causal impacts of employer strategies on workers' behaviour. Furthermore, when variation in public schemes and legislation is limited, private management strategies may provide the necessary variation for identification. Finally, comparison betwee n Norway and the UK allows us to exploit differences in welfare regimes, competitive environments and economic situation. Our project explicitly analyses: i)changing sick pay schemes and work environment, ii) the potential conflict between graded (partia l) sick leaves and work structure, iii) the early retirement legislation and the relation to sick leaves and disability recipiency, iv)strategies for managing workers who are long-term ill or have permanently impaired health, v) the sorting of workers on health and job polarisation, and finally, vi) how social interaction at the workplace and in the neighnourhood changes over time, with respect to sickness absence and withdrawal from work. We exploit a new detailed questionnaire survey; the Norwegian Wor kplace Employment Relations Survey 2012 (NWERS2012), which when linked with two employer previous surveys(1997,2003) and added register data on individuals and organisations will give us panel information on establishments and workers over 20 years. Furt hermore, we exploit the UK WERS2011 and the previous WERS-studies (1998 and 2004) containing similar questionnaire information on workplaces, as well as questionnaire information on workers. The advantage of the latter is that it can be linked to the work place data, thus linking worker subjective wellbeing indicators to absence rates in the previous year, and to workplace policies and practices.

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SYKEFRAVÆ årsaker til sykefrav