Generous schemes blamed for high number of sick leaves and people receiving disability benefits

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Norwegian measures to reduce absenteeism and reduce the number of people receivig disability benefits have little effect because we do not cut in benefits,  social security researcher Astrid Grasdal claims.

Despite a strong effort to bring down the level of sick leave and the percentage of disability, the level of sick leaves are  about as high as they were 10 years ago.  The proportion of the population of working age not working because of disabilty has also not decreased.
– The Norwegian measures have had little effect. It’s perhaps not to be expected when we don’t use measures that reduce these benefits,  Associate Professor Astrid Grasdal at the university says.
She has gone through Norwegian and international research on the health-related social security benefits and how they affect participation in the labor market. Grasdal has specifically looked at the Netherlands and Sweden in addition to the Norwegian social security research.

Cut benefits
The three countries were all high above the OECD average for absenteeism and disability. But while Norway remains at the top, the Swedes and the Dutch have moved down towards the EU average.
– The Netherlands and Sweden have done much the same as Norway. They have introduced more monitoring, more control and use a graded system. But one ofe the differences is that people on sick leaves are paid less than they in Norway, says  Grasdal, who were to present her findings in Bergen on a summary conference over ten years with social security research under the auspices of the Research Council on Friday .

Norway stands out as the only country where workers receive full pay during sick leave. Swedes do not get a full compensation then. In addition, the right to remain on a sick leave is tested after half a year. If you then still can  not go back to your old job, the right to remain on a sick leave is tested against another job.
– If you are firefighter on a sick leave, you will get an evaluation on whether you are able to work at an office. If you still can not return to work after a certain period of time, you will be lead from sick leave to unemployment benefits in Sweden,  Astrid Grasdal says.

Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today