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The Sick Pay Trap

Author

Listed:
  • Elisabeth Fevang
  • Simen Markussen
  • Knut Røed

Abstract

In most countries, employers are financially responsible for sick pay during an initial period of a worker's absence spell, after which the public insurance system covers the bill. Based on an empirical evaluation of a quasi-natural experiment in Norway, where pay liability was removed for pregnancy-related absences, we show that the system of short-term pay liability creates a sick pay trap: firms are discouraged from letting long-term sick workers back into work since they then face the financial risk associated with subsequent relapses. We present evidence indicating that this disincentive effect is both statistically and economically significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Elisabeth Fevang & Simen Markussen & Knut Røed, 2014. "The Sick Pay Trap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 305-336.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/673400
    DOI: 10.1086/673400
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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