Trade Union Membership and Sickness Absence: Evidence from a Sick Pay Reform

36 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2012

See all articles by Laszlo Goerke

Laszlo Goerke

University of Trier - Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Markus Pannenberg

University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld - Department of Business and Economics; DIW Berlin - GSOEP; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn

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Abstract

In 1996, statutory sick pay was reduced for private sector workers in Germany. Using the empirical observation that trade union members are dismissed less often than non-members, we construct a model to predict how absence behaviour will respond to the sick pay reform. We show that union members may have stronger incentives to be absent and to react to the cut in sick pay. In the empirical investigation, we find a positive relationship between trade union membership and absence due to sickness and observe more pronounced reactions to the cut in sick pay among union members than among non-members. These findings suggest that more flexibility in the use of paid absence due to sickness constitutes a private gain from trade union membership.

Keywords: difference-in-differences, sickness-related absence, Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), statutory sick pay, trade union membership

JEL Classification: I18, J51, J22

Suggested Citation

Goerke, Laszlo and Pannenberg, Markus, Trade Union Membership and Sickness Absence: Evidence from a Sick Pay Reform. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6777, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2157919

Laszlo Goerke (Contact Author)

University of Trier - Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union ( email )

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Markus Pannenberg

University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

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