Sickness presence, sick leave and adjustment latitude
Department of Sociology, Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2014;27(5):736–746
Objectives: Previous research on the association between adjustment latitude (defined as the opportunity to adjust work efforts in case of illness) and sickness absence and sickness presence has produced inconsistent results. In particular, low adjustment latitude has been identified as both a risk factor and a deterrent of sick leave. The present study uses an alternative analytical strategy with the aim of joining these results together. Material and Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, a random sample of employees covered by the Upper Austrian Sickness Fund (N = 930) was analyzed. Logistic and ordinary least square (OLS) regression models were used to examine the association between adjustment latitude and days of sickness absence, sickness presence, and an estimator for the individual sickness absence and sickness presence propensity. Results: A high level of adjustment latitude was found to be associated with a reduced number of days of sickness absence and sickness presence, but an elevated propensity for sickness absence. Conclusions: Employees with high adjustment latitude experience fewer days of health complaints associated with lower rates of sick leave and sickness presence compared to those with low adjustment latitude. In case of illness, however, high adjustment latitude is associated with a higher probability of taking sick leave rather than sickness presence.