Paid Sick Leave as a Means to Reduce Sickness Presenteeism Among Physicians

Ingrid Steen Rostad, Ann Fridner, Marie Gustafsson Sendén, Lise Tevik Løvseth


Recurrent international data show that physicians often attend work while ill, termed sickness presenteeism. The current study investigated if sickness presenteeism scores among European physicians varied according to national paid sick leave legislation. We hypothesized that prevalence of presenteeism was higher in countries with lower levels of paid sick leave. We used repeated cross-sectional survey data, phase I (2004/2005, N = 1326) and phase II (2012/2013, N = 1403), among senior consultants at university hospitals in Sweden, Norway, and Italy. Analyses of variances assessed cross-country differences in presenteeism. To assess the impact of country on presenteeism, we used multiple regression analyses controlled for sex, age, family status, work hours, and work content. The results from phase I supported the initial hypothesis. At phase II, presenteeism scores had decreased among the Italian and Swedish sample. The results are discussed with regard to changes in legislation on workhours and medical liability in Italy and Sweden between phase I and II.


Health, Working Environment and Wellbeing;Organization & management

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