Article Text


0144 Sick leave patterns as predictors of disability pension or long-term sick leave: A 6.75-year follow-up study in municipal eldercare workers
  1. Christina Stapelfeldt1,
  2. Claus Vinther Nielsen1,2,
  3. Niels Trolle Andersen3,
  4. Line Krane4,
  5. Vilhelm Borg5,
  6. Nils Fleten4,
  7. Chris Jensen6
  1. 1Section of Biostatistics, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Denmark
  2. 2Public Health and Quality Improvement, Central Denmark Region, Aarhus, Denmark
  3. 3Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø, Norway
  4. 4National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. 5National Centre for Occupational Rehabilitation, Rauland, Norway
  6. 6Section of Social Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Denmark


Objectives The public health care sector is challenged by high sick leave rates among home-care personnel. This group also has a high probability of being granted a disability pension. We studied whether a workplace-registered frequent short-term sick leave spell pattern was an early indicator of future disability pension or future long-term sick leave among eldercare workers.

Method 2774 employees’ sick leave days were categorised: 0–2 and 3–17 short (1–7 days) spells, 2–13 mixed short and long (8+ days) spells, and long spells only. Disability pension and long-term sick leave were subsequently identified in a National register. The cumulative incidence proportion as a function of follow-up weeks was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier curve. The relative cumulative incidence (RR) of experiencing one of these events within 352 weeks was analysed in a generalised linear regression model using the pseudo values method adjusted for age, occupation and unfavourable work factors.

Results A frequent short-term and a mixed sick leave pattern increased the RR of being granted a disability pension; the RR was 2.08 (95% CI: 1.00–4.35) and 2.61 (95% CI: 1.33–5.12). Inversely, the long-term sick leave pattern was not associated with a significantly increased RR compared with a non-frequent short-term pattern. The risk of long-term sick leave was significantly increased (1.35–1.64 (95% CI: 1.12–2.03) for all sick leave patterns beyond 0–2 short spells.

Conclusions Sick leave length was a better indicator of future workability than spell frequency. Preventive actions should target employees engaged in home-care having sick leave spells exceeding seven days, irrespective of spell frequency.

Statistics from

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.