The relation between indicators of low employment quality and attendance behavior in countries of the European Union

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Abstract

Background

Previous research demonstrated an association between low employment quality and lower sickness absence, which may be explained by presenteeism. Therefore, this study aimed exploring the relation between three indicators of employment quality (long working hours, precarious employment, job insecurity) and attendance behavior.

Methods

The association between employment quality and attendance behavior was investigated in 28.999 workers (mean age: 40.0 years, 53% males) of the fifth wave of the European Working Conditions Survey, using multilevel multinomial logistic regression analysis. Attendance behavior was operationalized as different combinations of sickness absence and presenteeism.

Results

Those working >48 h/week, had a higher risk to report presenteeism (with or without sickness absence). They had a lower risk to report sickness absence without presenteeism. Workers with a precarious contract had a lower risk to report absenteeism without presenteeism and the combination of both presenteeism and absenteeism. Finally, for workers perceiving job insecurity, the risk for presenteeism without sickness absence was significantly higher.

Conclusions

Several indicators of low employment quality were associated with attendance behavior, suggesting a complex behavioral mechanism in workers facing low job quality employment. Therefore, policy makers are recommended to re-establish the indefinite contractual employment as the standard, avoiding long working hours.

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