Articles on absence due to sickness.
“I was furious over the way I was treated in school when I told the teachers that I was mentally ill. The entire school system reacted by completely removing any demands on me. Any expectations of me achieving anything at all, and succeeding with anything, completely disappeared,” says Adrian Lorentsson.
When a woman has her second child while holding down an equally demanding job as the father, she is at twice the risk of going off sick compared to her husband, according to a new report on sick leave among women, presented in Sweden on 5 November.
The health of banking staff has deteriorated since the 2008 Icelandic banking crash. Those who lost their jobs and found new ones are doing better than those who stayed in their original jobs. The number of bank workers visiting health clinics doubled between 2008 and 2012.
Norway’s unemployment is low and employment is high. But the costs related to sick leave and early retirement are double that of the OECD country average based on GDP according to the OECD Economic Survey of Norway.
Norway's government and the social partners have reached a new agreement aimed at reducing sick leave. The agreement covers the next four years and prolongs the 2001 Inclusive Workplace Agreement.
Björn Johnson is fighting what he calls the myth of Sweden's high levels of sick leave. The Malmo University researcher has just published 'The Fight Over Sick Leave', a book exploring why and when sick leave became defined as a social problem.
One of the pillars of Nordic welfare systems is the right to sickness pay. But should employees enjoy the same pay whether or not they are at work? Who decides how long a person can be off sick? What kind of contact should the worker maintain with the employer? These questions are fuelling a heated debate in several Nordic countries. Nordic Labour Journal takes a closer look at new measures and rules being tightened.
If you at an early stage enter a dialogue with workers who are ill, you reduce the level of sick leave. That's the experience in the Høje-Taastrup municipality west of Copenhagen.
Many Finish municipalities have managed to turn the trend of ever increasing levels of sick leave. As the country's largest municipal employer, the City of Helsinki is developing ways of helping people on long-term sick leave to get back to work.
Levels of sick leave vary a lot between the different Nordic countries, yet it seems it gets harder and harder to qualify for sickness benefit - whether the level of sick leave rises or falls. There is no agreement among researchers on what really lies behind these variations, nor on what policies actually work.
Swedish job centres face busy times as 16,000 people on long-term sick leave are transferred from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency to the Public Employment Service. From now on they should be offered individual help and advise to help them re-join working life. The move has been met with fierce criticism, forcing the government to back down on several points.
In Norway the co-operation between the government, the unions and the employers is usually very close. But September saw an unprecedented quarrel among the three parties about who should pick up the bill for the rising cost of sick leave.
In the ongoing debate, Swedes tend to be portrayed as suffering from illness most often, compared to the rest of Europe. “That’s totally wrong!” says Paula Liukkonen, Senior Lecturer of Business Management, who has carried out extensive research on personnel policy and working environment.
Sweden and Norway are well off compared to the rest of Europe when one considers the living standard, the working environment, social security and average life expectancy. The economy of these societies is threatened, however, by ill health and overwhelming numbers of sick notes. These numbers are actually topping those from other European countries. Even though the statistics may contain errors, the fight against sick leave tops the agenda.
An "intention agreement for an inclusive workplace" was reached between the government and the Norwegian social partners at the beginning of October. Over the next four years, the parties will work actively towards reducing absenteeism by 20 %, getting more disabled people into work and encouraging people to stay working for longer. The agreement will be reviewed after two years.
Nordic efforts to improve working environments are now beginning to show results. Tarja Filatov, Finland's Minister of Labour, has brought the attention of the Nordic Council to the economic significance that a good working environment can have for businesses and the national economy.