Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs

Sickness, Disability and Work: Breaking the Barriers (Vol. 3)

Denmark, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands

Published on November 18, 2008

Also available in: French

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 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.


Executive Summary and Policy Recommendations
Key Trends and Outcomes
Evaluating Recent and Ongoing Reforms
Into and Off Benefit
Job Retention and Recruitment
The Individual's Perspective
Institutional Incentives, Co-operation and Governance
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 Policy challengeS and key statistics

  • Controlling incapacity-related public spending


  • Raising employment rates for people with health problems


  • Tackling lower incomes of households with a person with disability


  •  Reducing the inflow into sickness and disability benefits


  • Addressing the increase in mental health conditions


  •  Raising the outflow from usually permanent disability benefits


  • Strengthening co-ordination between actors and systems

 Country-specific findings


further reading