Hierarchizing Determinants of Sick Leave: Insights From a Survey on Health and Well-being at the Workplace

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Objective:We hierarchized a range of individual and occupational factors impacting the occurrence of very short (1–3 days), short (4 days to 1 month), or long-term (more than a month) sick leave spells.Methods:Data were collected from a repeated cross-sectional survey conducted in the French private sector over the period 2011 to 2017. Fifty one sick leave determinants were ranked using a conditional random forest approach.Results:The main determinants of long-term sick leaves were mainly health-related characteristics, such as perceived health, but also work-related covariates such as supervisor acknowledgment. On the contrary, very short-term spells were mainly defined by sociodemographic covariates.Conclusion:These results could be useful for devising appropriate actions to prevent against sick leave at the workplace, particularly long-term spells. Random forest approach is a promising approach for ranking correlated covariates from large datasets.

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