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FSD2540 Active Sick Leave 2003

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Authors

  • Lehikoinen, Tuula (Rehabilitation Foundation)
  • Puumalainen, Jouni (Rehabilitation Foundation)
  • Vuorinen, Helena (Rehabilitation Foundation)

Keywords

occupational health care, rehabilitation, rehabilitation benefits, sick leave, sick pay, working conditions

Abstract

The survey studied staff opinions on the so-called active sick leave. Active sick leave enables people with reduced work ability to combine partial sick leave with working part-time. The evaluation was based on the respondents' own experiences of long-term sick leave.

The respondents were asked whether they used occupational health care provided by the employer, what was the longest period they had been on continuous sick leave, and if they had been on sick leave for more than 3 weeks, the reason for the sick leave. Opinions were charted on whether working conditions had had an effect on their sick leave, whether the length of the leave had been appropriate, and whether they had regained work ability. The respondents were presented with a number of statements and asked whether they had felt the same during their sick leave (for instance, 'I had an opportunity to get sufficient rest', 'I felt guilty about my absence', 'I got bored at home', 'I returned to work as soon as I could'). Further questions investigated whether the respondents had returned to their normal tasks and whether they would have liked less demanding tasks.

All respondents were asked whether they would like to be contacted by the workplace during long-term sickness absence and by whom. Views were probed on whether the respondents could imagine returning to work after sick leave to work part-time or to lessened workload, and what working arrangements they would consider important in that case. Working arrangements mentioned included, among others, easier travel to and from work, shorter working day or week, flexible working time, more breaks, better working atmosphere. Other topics pertained to the level of income required (wage plus partial sick leave benefit) and general attitude to partial sick leave.

The respondents in a supervisory role were asked how many people work in their unit, how occupational health care was organised in their workplace, and if a person went on sick leave was someone else was hired to fill in, and how long the sick leave had to be for someone else to be hired. Supervisors were also asked whether they would be willing to arrange part-time work or modified tasks for someone returning from sick leave, whether they would be willing to pay partial wage to someone on part-time sick leave, whether special arrangements (adjustments to tasks or working hours) would at all be possible in their unit, and whether they considered it important that the person off sick would keep in contact with the workplace.

Background variables included the respondent's gender, age, vocational education, status in employment, working time, and employment sector.

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