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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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5655
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social insurance; experience rating; multivariate hazard rate models; absenteeism;
    All these keywords.

    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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