Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2009;35(5):334-341    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.1346

Trends in sickness absence in Denmark

by Johansen K, Bihrmann B, Mikkelsen S, Lynge E

Objective Based on the prevailing view that it has become a more common behavior, sickness absence is ­presently a topic of considerable concern in many European countries. Using sickness absence data from Denmark, we aimed to show whether this assumption holds true or not.

Methods We used a linear regression analysis to analyze time trends in sickness absence based on datasets from the Danish Employers Confederation, the State Employer’s Authority, the Labour Force Survey, and Statistics Denmark.

Results The findings from the Confederation of Danish Employers, the State Employer’s Authority, and the Labor Force Survey indicated a stable and largely unaltered pattern of sickness absence during the last 20 years. Findings from Statistics Denmark showed an increase in the cumulative incidence proportion from 6.6 to 7.5% among employed people between 2000 and 2007.

Conclusion Our data did not indicate that sickness absence behavior has become more common in Denmark during the past 20 years; although, an increase was seen in the beginning of this century. It is apparent that the many reports on sickness absence that highlight an increasing trend are based on sickness benefit reimbursement data and have overlooked the underlying changes over time in the risk population and the entitlement to reimbursement.

The following articles refer to this text: 2010;36(1):34-41; 2010;36(6):515-516; 2014;40(4):361-369