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What makes you work while you are sick? Evidence from a survey of union members


  • Böckerman, Petri
  • Laukkanen, Erkki


We examine the prevalence of sickness absenteeism and presenteeism, using survey data covering 725 Finnish union members in 2008. Controlling for worker characteristics, we find that sickness presenteeism is much more sensitive to working-time arrangements than sickness absenteeism. Permanent full-time work, mismatch between desired and actual working hours, shift or period work and overlong working weeks increase the prevalence of sickness presenteeism. We also find an interesting trade-off between two sickness categories: regular overtime decreases sickness absenteeism, but increases sickness presenteeism. Furthermore, the adoption of three days’ paid sickness absence without a sickness certificate and the easing of efficiency demands decrease sickness presenteeism.

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  • Böckerman, Petri & Laukkanen, Erkki, 2008. "What makes you work while you are sick? Evidence from a survey of union members," MPRA Paper 10556, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:10556

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hansen, Claus D. & Andersen, Johan H., 2008. "Going ill to work - What personal circumstances, attitudes and work-related factors are associated with sickness presenteeism?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(6), pages 956-964, September.
    2. Dew, Kevin & Keefe, Vera & Small, Keitha, 2005. "'Choosing' to work when sick: workplace presenteeism," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(10), pages 2273-2282, May.
    3. Böckerman, Petri & Ilmakunnas, Pekka, 2006. "Interaction of job disamenities, job satisfaction, and sickness absences: Evidence from a representative sample of Finnish workers," MPRA Paper 1800, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Petri Böckerman & Roope Uusitalo, 2006. "Erosion of the Ghent System and Union Membership Decline: Lessons from Finland," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 44(2), pages 283-303, June.
    5. Böckerman, Petri & Ilmakunnas, Pekka, 2008. "Interaction of working conditions, job satisfaction, and sickness absences: Evidence from a representative sample of employees," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(4), pages 520-528, August.
    6. Kivimäki, M. & Head, J. & Ferrie, J.E. & Hemingway, H. & Shipley, M.J. & Vahtera, J. & Marmot, M.G., 2005. "Working while III as a risk factor for serious coronary events: The whitehall II study," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 95(1), pages 98-102.
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    Cited by:

    1. Konstantinos, Pouliakas & Ioannis, Theodossiou, 2010. "An Inquiry Into the Theory, Causes and Consequences of Monitoring Indicators of Health and Safety At Work," MPRA Paper 20336, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Sylvie Hamon-Cholet & Joseph Lanfranchi, 2019. "Le présentéisme au travail. Mieux évaluer pour mieux prévenir," Working Papers halshs-02170962, HAL.

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    More about this item


    absenteeism; presenteeism; working-time arrangements;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General


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