Sickness, Disability and Work (Vol. 1): Norway, Poland and Switzerland


How to obtain this publication I Forthcoming reports I Press release & Country notes I
Selection of tables and charts

ISBN: 9264026312
Publication Date: 7/11/2006
172 pages

Too many workers leave the labour market permanently due to health problems, and yet too many people with a disabling condition are denied the opportunity to work. This is a social and economic tragedy common to virtually all OECD countries, and an apparent paradox that needs explaining. Why is it that health is improving, yet more and more people of working age end up out of the workforce relying on long-term sickness and disability benefits?
This first report in a new OECD series on sickness, disability and work explores the possible factors behind this paradox. It looks specifically at the cases of Norway, Poland and Switzerland, and highlights the role of institutions and policies. A range of reform recommendations is put forward.

In all three countries, too little is done to avoid the flow from work to benefits and to move benefit recipients back to employment. At the same time, financial incentives to work and obligations for disabled people on benefits as well as employers are too weak. Many people with health problems can work, and want to work, so having a policy based around an assumption that they cannot work is fundamentally flawed. Helping those people to work is potentially a true ‘win-win’ policy: it helps people avoid exclusion and have higher incomes, at the same time as raising the prospect of higher economic output in the long term.

 This publication can be obtained from:

  • Subscribers and readers at subscribing institutions can access the online edition via SourceOECD, our online library.
  • Non-subscribers can purchase the PDF e-book and/or paper copy via our OECD Online Bookshop 
  • Government officials with accounts (subscribe) can go to the "Books" tab on OLIS.
  • Password-protected web site for accredited journalists

Forthcoming reports

This publication is the first in a series of three comparative reports on sickness and disability policies in selected OECD countries. The second report, published in 2007, covers Australia, Luxembourg, Spain and the United Kingdom, and the final one, published in 2008, covers Denmark, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands. The three comparative reports will be followed by a synthesis report that will summarise the lessons learned in the course of the thematic review.

Press Release & Country Notes:


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