Social policies and data

Sickness, Disability and Work (Vol. 3): Denmark, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands

 

Policy challenges and key statistics I How to obtain this publication I Previous and forthcoming reports I Press release & Country notes I Selection of tables and charts

ISBN: 9789264049680
Published: 12/12/2008

170 pages

Too many workers leave the labour market permanently owing to health problems, and yet too many people with reduced work capacity 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 the average health status is improving, yet a persistently large number of people of working age leave the workforce to rely on long-term sickness and disability benefits?

This third report in the OECD series "Sickness, Disability and Work" explores the possible factors behind this paradox. It looks specifically at the cases of Denmark, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands, and highlights the roles of institutions and policies. A range of reform recommendations is put forward to deal with specific challenges facing the four countries.

Experiences in the four countries offer some lessons on the importance of financial incentives for the main actors: private and public institutions (including public employment services, social insurance institutions and municipalities), employers, and workers. Good incentives will help to achieve the necessary shift in mentality, from providing insurance to activation, to promote better cooperation across actors, and to foster reform and system implementation in line with policy intentions. This should improve outcomes.

Despite a range of good-practice elements in this regard, in all four countries more can be done to avoid the flow onto benefits and to move benefit recipients back to employment. Many people with health problems or reduced work capacity can work, and want to do so. Helping those people is potentially a true "win-win" policy: it helps them avoid exclusion and have higher incomes, while raising the prospect of higher economic output in the long term.


The magnitude of the policy challenge and related key statistics

Key policy issues (a)

 Denmark 

 Finland 

 Ireland 

 Netherlands 

 Figure/Table   

 

#1 Controlling incapacity-related public spending  +++

+++

++++ 

 Figure 1.4

 Figure 1.6

#2 Raising employment rates for people with health problems

 ++

 ++

 ++++

 +++

 Figure 1.1

 Figure 1.2

#3 Tackling lower incomes of households with a person with disability

++

 +

 ++++

 +

 Figure 1.3

 Table 5.1
#4 Reducing the inflow into sickness and disability benefits

 +++

 ++++

 +++

 ++

 Figure 3.4

 Figure 4.1

#5 Addressing the increase in mental health conditions

 +++

 +++

 ++

 +++

 Figure 3.6

 Figure 3.1

#6 Raising the outflow from usually permanent disability benefits

 +++

 +++

 ++

 ++

 Figure 3.3

 Figure 3.7

#7 Strengthening co-ordination between actors and systems

 ++

 +++

 +++

 ++

 Figure 1.8

 Figure 6.1
           

(a) The scales should be interpreted as follows: + … minor challenge; ++ … moderate challenge; +++ ... substantial challenge; and ++++ … formidable challenge.


This publication can be obtained from:

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  • Password-protected web site for accredited journalists.

Previous and forthcoming reports


This publication is the third in a series of three comparative report on sickness and disability policies in selected OECD countries. Vol. 1 on Norway, Poland and Switzerland was published in 2006 and Vol. 2 on Australia, Luxembourg, Spain and the United Kingdom was published in December 2007. 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

Press release: OECD says governments must continue reforms of disability systems

Country Notes:

Denmark
Finland + Opening remarks from OECD Deputy Secretary-General Aart de Gaus in Finland
Ireland + John Martin speech in Ireland from OECD-DELSA Director John Martin in Ireland

Netherlands

 

 

Related Documents

 

The OECD "Sickness, Disability and Work" project

 

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