Absenteeism is the single most important cause of lost labour time, yet it has received much less scholarly attention than more dramatic forms of industrial disruption, such as strikes. Arguing that any explanation of absence rates must take into account the interests of both employers and employees, this book constructs a model of the markets for absence and sick pay. These are not independent since sick pay affects workers' incentives to be absent, and absences affect employers' willingness to pay sick pay. The book reviews the available empirical evidence relating to both markets, stressing the importance of careful identification of the effect of the price of absence on demand, since this is a crucial quantity for firms' policies. It concludes by discussing the implications of the model for human resources management, and for the role of the state in sick pay provision.
• Proposes and tests a market approach to the analysis of worker absenteeism • Improves on previous models of absenteeism and develops a unique theory of optimal sick pay • Draws out implications of the market approach to absenteeism for firms and for government policy
List of figures; List of tables; Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. The supply of absence and the provision of sick pay; 3. The demand for absence; 4. The markets for absence and for sick pay; 5. A brief introduction to identification; 6. The market for absence: empirical evidence; 7. The demand for absence: empirical evidence; Appendix to Chapter 7; 8. Policy implications for firms; 9. Policy implications for states; 10. Conclusion; References; Index.
'John Treble and Tim Barmby have achieved a tour de force. Their book makes very imaginative use of economic theory, illustrated with amusing and illuminating anecdotes. They argue that we should think of absence behaviour as the result of a bargain between employers and their employees, and that medical and psychological factors are only part of the picture. The nature of this bargain explains why some organisations have higher absence rates than others. This opens up scope for considering a much wider range of policies to deal with absence than the traditional ones. Their conclusions will be of interest to practitioners and researchers well beyond the economics fold.' David Marsden, Professor of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics