Social protection and the employment contract: the impact on work absence

Work. 2010;37(3):251-60. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2010-1077.


Objective: This study investigates the impact of temporary employment on all-cause sickness absence of one week or more with a focus on how this relationship is moderated by factors related to social protection (job tenure, union membership and firm size).

Participants: A sample of 5,307 individuals who experienced 9,574 distinct job episodes was drawn from a longitudinal Canadian labour market survey (2000-2004).

Methods: Duration analysis was undertaken to model the time from the start of a job to the first sickness absence. Specifically, a proportional hazard model was estimated using a complementary log-log function for continuous time processes.

Results: Findings showed that temporary employment was associated with a lower rate of sickness absence after controlling for tenure, prior health status, and several other individual and job characteristics.

Conclusions: The results suggest that the lack of social protection in temporary jobs is a powerful determinant of absence taking, even in the case of serious health conditions that require an absence of one week or more.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adult
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Contracts
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Sick Leave / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Support