Increase in sickness absence for males
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 absenceQ2 2009



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Increase in sickness absence for males

The sickness absence for men rose from 5.2 to 5.7 per cent from the second quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of 2009. For women, the absence increased from 8.7 to 8.8 per cent.

The total sickness absence rose from 6.8 to 7.1 per cent. The fact that Easter fell in the second quarter this year and in the first quarter last year means that in practice the increase in sickness was about 0.1 percentage points lower.

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

The increase mainly came in the doctor-certified absence, for both men and women. The self-certified sickness absence remained unchanged at 0.8 per cent, while the doctor-certified absence rose from 6 to 6.3 per cent.

The sickness absence in the second quarter of 2009 was almost on the same level as in the first quarter of 2001; the year of 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 second quarter of 2008 and the second 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 the figures. Here is an article presenting general information about the new Norwegian industry classification .

Increase in sickness absence in the construction industry continues

Amongst the major industries, the increase in sickness absence was by far the greatest in construction, by 15.2 per cent. The increase came mainly in the doctor-certified absence, while the self-certified sickness absence dropped by 8.5 per cent. In the real estate and technical activities industry, the sickness absence rose by 12.9 per cent. Both the self- and doctor-certified absence increased in this industry.

Within public administration and health care industries there were only minor changes in the sickness absence last year.

Increase in proportion of long-term absence

The proportion of doctor-certified sickness absence lasting for more than 31 days rose from 62.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2008 to 66 per cent in the second quarter of 2009. The proportion of self-certified sickness absence compared to the total sickness absence fell from 11.6 to 10.7 per cent.

Continued increase in private sector

The sickness absence in the private sector rose from 6.3 to 6.7 per cent from the second quarter of 2008 to 66 per cent in the second quarter of 2009; an increase of 7.4 per cent. The sickness absence in central government (including health enterprises) dropped by 0.8 per cent, while within local government there was an increase in sickness absence of 0.8 per cent.

The sickness absence level was lowest in central government, with 6.5 per cent, and highest in local government, with 8.7 per cent.

Increased sickness absence for males in all of the major age groups

Men in the age groups 40-44 and 45-49 years had the most dramatic increase in the doctor-certified sickness absence, by 14.2 and 14 per cent respectively. Men in the age group 20-24 years had the lowest increase of 6.2 per cent. For women, the age group 30-34 years had the strongest rise of 5.9 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