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The Sick Pay Trap

Author

Listed:
  • Fevang, Elisabeth

    () (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

  • Markussen, Simen

    () (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

  • Røed, Knut

    () (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

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 a quasi-natural experiment in Norway, where pay liability was removed for pregnancy-related absences, we show that firms' absence costs significantly affect employees' absence behavior. However, by restricting pay liability to the initial period of the absence spell, firms are discouraged from letting long-term sick workers back into work, since they then face the financial risk associated with subsequent relapses. We show that this disincentive effect is statistically and economically significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Fevang, Elisabeth & Markussen, Simen & Røed, Knut, 2011. "The Sick Pay Trap," IZA Discussion Papers 5655, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5655
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrea Ichino & Giovanni Maggi, 2000. "Work Environment and Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials in a Large Italian Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1057-1090.
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    12. Hesselius, Patrik & Johansson, Per & Nilsson, Peter, 2009. "Sick of your colleagues' absence?," Working Paper Series 2009:2, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. René Böheim & Thomas Leoni, 2011. "Firms’ moral hazard in sickness absences," NRN working papers 2011-10, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    2. Nicolas R. Ziebarth & Martin Karlsson, 2014. "The Effects Of Expanding The Generosity Of The Statutory Sickness Insurance System," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(2), pages 208-230, March.
    3. Stefan Pichler & Nicolas Ziebarth, 2016. "The Pros and Cons of Sick Pay Schemes: Testing for Contagious Presenteeism and Shirking Behavior," NBER Chapters,in: Social Insurance Programs (Trans-Atlantic Public Economic Seminar - TAPES) National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. René Böheim & Thomas Leoni, 2014. "Firms' Sickness Costs and Workers' Sickness Absences," NBER Working Papers 20305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Martin Halla & Susanne Pech & Martina Zweimüller, 2017. "The effect of statutory sick-pay on workers' labor supply and subsequent health," Working Papers 2017-04, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    6. Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2013. "Long-term absenteeism and moral hazard—Evidence from a natural experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 277-292.
    7. Markussen, Simen & Mykletun, Arnstein & Røed, Knut, 2012. "The case for presenteeism — Evidence from Norway's sickness insurance program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 959-972.
    8. Böckerman, Petri & Kanninen, Ohto & Suoniemi, Ilpo, 2014. "A Kink that Makes You Sick: The Incentive Effect of Sick Pay on Absence," IZA Discussion Papers 8205, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Markussen, Simen & Røed, Knut & Schreiner, Ragnhild C., 2015. "Can Compulsory Dialogues Nudge Sick-Listed Workers Back to Work?," IZA Discussion Papers 9090, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. repec:eee:pubeco:v:156:y:2017:i:c:p:14-33 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Martin Halla & Susanne Pech & Martina Zweimüller, 2015. "The Effect of Statutory Sick Pay Regulations on Workers’ Health," Economics working papers 2015-02, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    12. Petri Bockerman & Ohto Kanninen & Ilpo Suoniemi, 2014. "A Kink that Makes you Sick: the Effect of Sick Pay on Absence in a Social Insurance System," Discussion Papers 97, Aboa Centre for Economics.
    13. Godøy, Anna, 2016. "Profiting from presenteeism? Effects of an enforced activation policy on firm profits," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 122-128.
    14. Pichler, Stefan & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2015. "The Pros and Cons of Sick Pay Schemes: A Method to Test for Contagious Presenteeism and Shirking Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 8850, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Pichler, Stefan & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2017. "The pros and cons of sick pay schemes: Testing for contagious presenteeism and noncontagious absenteeism behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 14-33.
    16. de Groot, Nynke & Koning, Pierre, 2016. "Assessing the effects of disability insurance experience rating. The case of The Netherlands," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 304-317.
    17. Rieck, Karsten Marshall E. & Telle, Kjetil, 2012. "Sick Leave Before, During and After Pregnancy," Working Papers in Economics 06/12, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    18. repec:spr:empeco:v:53:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00181-016-1172-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Catherine Pollak, 2017. "The impact of a sick pay waiting period on sick leave patterns," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 18(1), pages 13-31, January.
    20. Pichler, Stefan & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2016. "Labor Market Effects of US Sick Pay Mandates," IZA Discussion Papers 9867, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social insurance; experience rating; multivariate hazard rate models; absenteeism;

    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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