Repeatedly Working When Ill Boosts Risk
Of Long Term Sick Leave
going to work when ill significantly boosts the chances of having to
take long term sick leave later on, reveals research published ahead of
print in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
when ill is an increasingly recognised phenomenon known as "sickness
presence," but relatively little is known about the long term impact of
researchers randomly selected almost 12,000 Danes of working age, who
had been in continuous employment for at least a year, to answer
questions on their attitudes to work, preparedness to take time off
when ill, and general health.
asked how many times in the preceding year they had gone to work ill
when it would have been reasonable to have stayed at home.
responses were married up with official records detailing periods of
sick leave taken, and lasting at least a fortnight, over the next 18
health, a heavy workload, work-family life conflicts, a good level of
social support, holding a senior post, and obesity featured most often
among those who repeatedly came to work, despite being ill.
had done this at least half a dozen times were 53% more likely to end
up going off sick for two weeks, and 74% more likely to take more than
two months of sick leave, compared with those who did not come to work
findings held true even after taking account of known risk factors for
long term sick leave, previous bouts of lengthy sickness absence, and
off sick may allow workers to cope better with the stresses of a
demanding job, and, overall, the evidence is that employment is good
for health, say the authors. But long term sick leave is associated
with difficulties finding work, they warn.
more information on the BMJ-British Medical Journal, visit www.bmj.com.