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Absenteeism on bridging days

René Böheim () and Thomas Leoni

Applied Economics Letters, 2020, vol. 27, issue 20, 1667-1671

Abstract: We examine sickness absences on ‘bridging days’, i.e. Mondays and Fridays which fall between a weekend and a public holiday. Bridging days allow for a longer absence from work and increased utility from leisure, which could lead to increased shirking and absenteeism. We test this hypothesis using longitudinal social security data that cover the universe of private sector employees in a large Austrian region for a period of eleven years. Many public holidays are on different days of the week in different years and this variation identifies our causal estimate. We do not find any evidence for inflated sickness absence rates on bridging days. Quite conversely, sickness rates are consistently lower on bridging days than on regular Mondays and Fridays. Analysing diagnoses with symptoms that are hard to verify, we do not find indications for changes in employees’ strategic behaviour. Our results are consistent with the explanation that more workers are on vacation on bridging days.

Date: 2020
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Working Paper: Absenteeism on Bridging Days (2019) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2020.1711504

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