Absenteeism in the Nordic countries

Ann‐Kristina Løkke (The Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus, Denmark)
Jacob K. Eskildsen (The Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus, Denmark)
Troels Wendelboe Jensen (Markedsconsult A/S, Aarhus, Denmark)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Publication date: 1 January 2007



The purpose of this paper is to identify the drivers of absenteeism and gives information of the relationship between absenteeism and personal and organizational characteristics in the Nordic countries.


The theoretical assumptions are tested empirically on data from a survey carried out in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. 10.748 employees from randomly selected households participated. Differences were examined using analysis of variance.


Among the findings are that Danish employees are less absent than employees in Norway, Finland and Sweden. Employees working in the public sector, more specific the municipalities, have a higher level of absence compared to the private sector. According to the personal characteristics, women are more absent than men in all Nordic countries, but the effect of age differs according to the country in question. If the manager however is a woman and the employee likewise, then the level of absence is higher in Denmark, Norway and Finland compared to the other gender constellations.


Because of the lack of international comparative studies of absenteeism in the Nordic countries, this paper brings new and a deeper understanding of the area as a basis of further empirical research and/or management concern.



Løkke, A., Eskildsen, J. and Wendelboe Jensen, T. (2007), "Absenteeism in the Nordic countries", Employee Relations, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 16-29. https://doi.org/10.1108/01425450710714450

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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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