Young Swedish workers abuse sick leave: study

Vivian Tse
Vivian Tse - [email protected]
Young Swedish workers abuse sick leave: study

An increasing number of young Swedes are taking sick leave even when they are healthy, a new study has revealed.


Nearly one in five Swedes, or 29 percent, have taken sick leave despite feeling healthy. "Feeling tired" or "worn out" were the most common reasons and the sick leave takers were overwhelmingly born in the 1980s and 1990s, according to Manpower's work life survey conducted in conjunction with Kairos Future.

"In the case of younger workers' willingness to take sick leave despite feeling healthy, there are grounds for employers to create a work environment that motivates and engages the generations that are now entering the labour market," said Carina Riedler, CEO of Manpower Health Partners Manpower Sweden.

At the same time, slightly more than every other Swede goes to work despite being sick, the survey showed.

"The fact that so many managers work despite being sick raises questions about whether the standing requirements for availability, combined with slimmer organisations, resulting in absolutely no scope to take sick leave at the managerial level," said Riedler.

Those in their late teens and 20s living in Stockholm and working in customer service or office and administration took sick leave more often when healthy.

However, Stockholm managers in their 30s would probably often or always go to work despite illness. Among managers in general, 68 percent went to work sick, the survey showed.

The survey was also conducted in Norway, where 70 percent of respondents said that they go to work despite illness, compared with 56 percent in Sweden. In the case of healthy absences, the results were similar between the two countries.

The survey also looked at the work ethic of both countries. The Swedes came out on top, with a clear majority, or 78 percent, who answered that they felt morale is generally good in Sweden, while just over half of all Norwegians said the work ethic was good in Norway.


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