The impact of temporary employment and job tenure on work-related sickness absence

Tampa, E.; Scott-Marshall, H.; Fang, M.
December 2008
Occupational & Environmental Medicine;Dec2008, Vol. 65 Issue 12, p801
Academic Journal
Objectives: To investigate the impact of temporary employment and job tenure on work-related sickness absence of 1 week or more. Methods: A longitudinal analysis was undertaken of the time to work-related sickness absence from the start of a job using the Canadian Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics. The sample consisted of 4777 individuals who experienced 7953 distinct job episodes and 167 absences. There were 114 488 person-job- month observational units. The major variables of interest in this study were a variable identifying whether the job was temporary or permanent, and tenure on the job. Results: Individuals in temporary jobs were as likely to have a work-related sickness absence as individuals in permanent jobs. Individuals with job tenure of 4-6 months were 64% less likely to have an absence than individuals with longer tenures. Individuals in a union were more likely to have an absence. Firm size was not associated with absence. Conclusions: Previous studies have suggested that temporary employment and job tenure are associated with work-related health risk exposures and the ability to take a sickness absence, but these studies have not considered the nature of the employment contract in a longitudinal framework. This analysis did not find temporary employment to be associated with differential absence rate after controlling for tenure, prior health status, and several other individual and job character- istics. Short tenure is negatively related to the probability of work-related sickness absence, union membership is positively related, and firm size is not related to this variable.


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