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Job change and reduced long-term sickness absence: Who benefits?

Vilde Hoff Bernstrøm


Current literature indicates that employees experience a boost in terms of improved well-being and health and reduced absence after a job change. The current article extends this by comparing the effect of job change on long-term sickness absence for employees of different sex, age, and education level. Longitudinal data on 189,983 hospital employees from 2003 to 2008 was collected from Norwegian national registries. We used the random effects method to analyse the effect of job change on long-term sickness absence and the interaction between job change and demographic variables. The data demonstrated a decreased likelihood of long-term sickness absence after the job change. Females, older employees, and employees with more than 4 years of higher education had a smaller reduction in the odds of sickness absence after job change. The results support a positive effect of job change for all employee groups in the study but show variations in the magnitude of the effect among different demographic groups. Future studies should evaluate how to best facilitate the positive effects, particularly for more vulnerable groups with higher absence rates such as employees with limited education.

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