Sick Leave and the Composition of Work Teams
In this paper, I analyse the relation between workers’ sick leave and the composition of their work teams with respect to age, job tenure, education, and nationality. The probability of sick leave of workers in work teams is shown to be lower if their teammates are older, have shorter job tenure, are less educated, female and of same nationality. In particular, the difference between a worker’s age and the average age of her teammates explains a large part of the well-known positive correlation between age and sick days. In fact, for workers older than 44 years, individual age does not have any significant effect on sick days if the difference between individual age and average team age is held constant. This age difference can be controlled by the management. If older workers have more sick days only if they work in teams with younger workers, it might optimal to form age-homogeneous work teams.
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