Closer monitoring, and more stringent requirements for activity during sick leave could save society billions in welfare payments, suggested two new reports.
The reports are linked to efforts in the counties of Aust-Agder, Rogaland and Buskerud, reported Dagens Næringsliv newspaper .
Stricter enforcement of ‘activity requirements’ contributed to absenteeism falling by 6% in Buskerud. If a similar reduction was achieved nationwide, it would save the State over two billion in sickness benefits, according to Nav.
‘Reduced absenteeism is good for those who ARE on sick leave, good for Nav, good for society, and good for government expenditure. It is important that Nav is early, hands-on, and follow up to make sure activity requirements are consistent’, said the Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, Anniken Hauglie.
In Aust-Agder, absences were reduced 5%, while changes in practice, and closer monitoring produced no detectable effect in Rogaland.
Hauglie said, ‘I am satisfied that there was a clear effect in the majority of pilot regions, and the minister pointed out that the ‘oil county’of Rogaland is in a special situation.
‘We know that powerful restructuring, and huge unemployment may translate into increased absenteeism when people are afraid of losing their jobs’, said the minister.
Nav chief, Sigrun Vågeng, said the findings from the tests are being followed up, and that work is already in progress, particularly of monitoring the ‘activity requirement’ and utilisation of ‘capacity for work’ specifications.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today