Increase in sickness absence
Labour market and earnings;Immigration and immigrants;Health
sykefratot, Sickness absence, sick leave man-days, sickness absence rateHealth conditions and living habits, Health, Working environment, sickness absence, strikes and lockouts, Labour market and earnings, Labour market and earnings, Immigration and immigrants, Health

Sickness absenceQ1 2009



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Increase in sickness absence

The sickness absence rose from 7.4 to 7.7 per cent from the first quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009. The fact that Easter fell in the second quarter this year and in the first quarter last year means that in practice the sickness absence rose by a further 0.1 percentage points.

In the rest of this article, the figures are not corrected for the Easter effect.

Absence certified by a doctor increased from 6.2 to 6.4 per cent, while self-certified absence remained stable at 1.2 per cent. The sickness absence in the first quarter of 2009 was almost on the same level as in the first quarter of 2001; the year of the implementation of the agreement on an inclusive labour market.

New industry classification

A new industry classification was introduced from the publication of the first quarter of 2009. The figures for the first quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 are produced according to the new industry classification. Compared with figures published for 2008 and previous years, there will be a break in the time series for figures by industry. Here is an article presenting general information about the new Norwegian industry classification .

Increase in sickness absence in industries affected by the financial crisis

The increase was largest in construction, manufacturing of fabricated metal products and motor vehicle parts, sale of motor vehicles and certain real estate and other business activities. While the gain in the total sickness absence (self-certified and doctor-certified) was 3.3 per cent last year, the increase in these industries was more than 7 per cent.

In manufacturing and construction the growth was in doctor-certified absence.

In industries dominated by the public sector, there were only minor changes in the sickness absence last year.

Continued rise for men

Men had a larger portion of employees in the private sector than women, and especially in industries affected by the financial crisis. The doctor-certified absence for men contributed to the increase in the total sickness absence, with a growth of 7.6 per cent. For women, the increase was 0.8 per cent. The self-certified sickness absence for men remained unchanged, while rising 1.2 per cent for women.

The sickness absence level for men is however still lower than for women; 6.2 and 9.5 per cent respectively.

Unchanged proportion of long-term absence

The proportion of sickness absence certified by a doctor and lasting for more than 31 days was 59.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2009. This is the same level as in the first quarter of 2008. The proportion of self-certified sickness absence compared to the total sickness absence fell from 16.3 to 15.9 per cent.

Reduced sickness absence among older women

The sickness absence decreased for women between 45 and 66 years. The strongest decline was found in the age group 55-59 years. On the other hand, women in the youngest age groups had an increase in the sickness absence. The strongest increase was found in the age group 20-24 years with 6.3 per cent.

In most age groups the sickness absence for men increased. The age group 45-49 years had the strongest growth with 10.2 per cent, followed by the age group 30-34 years with 10.1 per cent.

These results are based on data on sickness absence certified by a doctor, as the survey on self-certified absence does not contain data on sickness absence by age.

Technical information

Sickness absence rate and the Easter effect

The sickness absence rate measures man-days lost due to own sickness as a percentage of scheduled man-days. Scheduled man-days are adjusted for vacations, which means that the figures are affected by when Easter falls. The quarter in which Easter falls has a lower number of scheduled man-days, thus resulting in a higher sickness absence rate.

Rates of change

The sickness absence rates are presented using one decimal point. When we calculate the rates of change, we use more decimals in order to get more accurate figures. These will therefore differ somewhat from the rates of change produced when using the published rounded figures.

The statistics do not cover self - employed persons .



Published tables