Scand J Work Environ Health 2008;34(4):239-249    pdf | Published online: 15 Sep 2008, Issue date: Aug 2008

Partial sick leave—review of its use, effects and feasibility in the Nordic countries

by Kausto J, Miranda H, Martimo K-P, Viikari-Juntura E

Partial sick leave and partial sickness benefits are currently available in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. The literature was reviewed to determine their use, describe their recipients, find evidence of their effects, and explore attitudes towards and experiences with their use. Eight databases were searched. National sickness absence statistics and other relevant sources were also reviewed. Of the sickness benefits, partial benefits accounted for approximately one-fifth in Norway, less than 10% in Denmark, and over a third in Sweden. In Finland, partial sick leave was seldom used during the first year (2007) of benefit availability. Few peer-reviewed studies on its effects were identified, and scientific evidence was scarce. Its acceptance was good in all four countries. Most of the recipients were women and over 45 years of age. Studies of its feasibility seem congruent in reporting hindrances due to inflexible work arrangements and poor collaboration between actors. More research and more rigorous study designs are needed to determine whether partial sick leave is feasible and beneficial in keeping those with reduced work ability in worklife.