Self-reported sickness absence and presenteeism as predictors of future disability pension: Cohort study with 11-year register follow-up

Rubén López-Bueno*, Thomas Clausen, Joaquín Calatayud, Rúni Bláfoss, Jonas Vinstrup, Lars Louis Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Many healthcare workers in eldercare are pushed out of the labor market before the official retirement age due to poor health. Identification of early warnings signs is important to avoid complete loss of work ability. The aim of this study was to investigate to what degree sickness absence and presenteeism increase future risk for disability pension among eldercare workers. A total of 8952 Danish female eldercare workers responded to a survey about work environment and health. They were followed for 11 years in the Danish Register for Evaluation of Marginalization, with time-to-event analyses estimating the hazard ratios (HRs) for disability pension from sickness absence and presenteeism at baseline. Analyses were adjusted for age, education, body mass index, leisure-time physical activity, smoking, physical exertion at work, and psychosocial factors related to the work environment. During the 11-year follow-up, 11.9% participants received disability pension. For the whole cohort, the highest risk for disability pension was observed for the category of >30 days of combined sickness absence and presenteeism at baseline in the fully adjusted model (HR = 7.93 [95%CI 5.20–12.09]). Eldercare workers aged >45 years were at a higher risk for disability pension in all included categories. Sickness absence and presenteeism increased the risk of disability pension among female eldercare workers. These results suggest that organizations would benefit from identifying early warning signs among workers in the prevention of involuntary early retirement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106565
JournalPreventive Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Absenteeism
  • Occupational health
  • Prospective cohort
  • Retirement
  • Workplace


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