12-year trends in occupational class differences in short sickness absence among young women

Socioeconomic differences in sickness absence are well established among middle-aged employees but poorly known among younger employees, in particular for shorter spells. This study examined trends in occupational class differences in short sickness absence among young women. The data were obtained from the registers of the City of Helsinki, Finland, and included female employees aged 18-34 years from 2002 to 2013. Self-certified (1-3 days) sickness absence spells were examined. Occupational class was classified into four hierarchical categories. Join point regression models were used to identify major changes in sickness absence trends. Short sickness absence increased until 2008, after which it decreased in all occupational classes except manual workers. Differences in sickness absence between occupational classes remained over time. Routine non-manuals had the highest amount of short sickness absence, while managers and professionals had the smallest amount. Manual workers had somewhat less short sickness absence than routine non-manuals and semi-professionals. The authors concluded the socioeconomic differences in short sickness absence were clear among young women but not fully consistent as routine non-manuals are needed to narrow socioeconomic differences in young women’s sickness absence especially among routine non-manuals.

Authors: Hilla S, Jouni L, Eero L, Olli P, Ossi R. ;Full Source: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. 2015 Jun;43(4):441-4. doi: 10.1177/1403494815577460. Epub 2015 Apr 1. ;