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The Effect of Statutory Sick Pay Regulations on Workers’ Health

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  • Martin Halla
  • Susanne Pech
  • Martina Zweimüller

Abstract

Social insurance programs typically comprise sick leave insurance. An important policy parameter is how the cost of sick leave are shared between workers, firms, and the social security system. We show that this sharing rule affects not only absence behavior, but also workers’ subsequent health. To inform our empirical analysis we propose a simple model, where workers’ absence decision is taken conditional on the sharing rule, health, and a dismissal probability. Our empirical analysis is based on high-quality administrative data sources from Austria. Identification is guaranteed by idiosyncratic variation in the sharing rule (caused by different policy reforms and sharp discontinuities at certain tenure levels and firm sizes). An increase in either the workers’ or the firms’ cost share (both at the public expense) decrease the number of sick leave days. Variations in the workers’ cost are quantitatively more important (by a factor of about two). Policy-induced variation in sick leave has a significant effect on subsequent health (care cost). The average worker in our sample is in the domain of presenteeism, i. e. an increase in sick leave (due to reductions in the workers’ or the firms’ cost share) would reduce health care cost.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2015_02
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Ahammer, 2016. "How Physicians Affect Patients’ Employment Outcomes Through Deciding on Sick Leave Durations," CDL Aging, Health, Labor working papers 2016-04, The Christian Doppler (CD) Laboratory Aging, Health, and the Labor Market, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    2. Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2017. "Social Insurance and Health," IZA Discussion Papers 10918, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Laszlo Goerke, 2017. "Sick pay reforms and health status in a unionised labour market," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 64(2), pages 115-142, May.
    4. Ahammer, Alexander & Halla, Martin & Schneeweis, Nicole, 2020. "The effect of prenatal maternity leave on short and long-term child outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    5. Laszlo Goerke, 2016. "Sick Pay Reforms and Health Status in a Unionised Labour Market," IAAEG Discussion Papers until 2011 201604, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Statutory sick-pay regulations; sick leave; presenteeism; absenteeism; moral hazard; health care cost.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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