Sickness absence rate (NC)


Sickness absence rate is a measure of person-days lost due to own sickness as a percentage of scheduled person-days.

Sickness absence rate = (person-days lost*100) / scheduled person-days

The statistics do not cover self-employed persons, absence due to a child's illness, primary care-giver leave or maternity leave.

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Full Title

Sickness absence rate (NC)

Identification Number



Name Affiliation Abbreviation Role
Statistics Norway SSB

Date of Production


Data Distributor

Name Affiliation Abbreviation
Nasjonalt folkehelseinstitutt FHI

Date of Distribution



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Bygget om kuben feb-15: fra numerisk kodet til string klartekst for Alder og Type fravær.

Date: 2015-03-17

Type: Endelig

Version Responsibility Statement

As a result of an agreement signed by the authorities and organisations of employees, around 1 million employees were allowed a longer period of self-certified sickness absence from March 2004 onwards. The doctor-certified absence rate is probably affected by these changes as some absences that were previously required to be doctor-certified, may now be self-certified.

A new industry classification was introduced in 2009. This may influence sickness absence figures by up to 0.1% in gender, age and country groupings because changes in the industry classification influences the number of people in the denominator when calculating sickness absence rate. Figures from 2009 onwards are therefore not entirely comparable with earlier years.


Geographical level

Doctor-certified: Country, county of employment
Self-certified and total absences: Country (for Both genders also county of employment)


Doctor-certified: Both genders, men, women
Self-certified and total absences: Both genders (for Country also men, women)

Age groups

Doctor-certified: All adults (16-69 years), 16-24, 25-44, 45-69 years.
Self-certified and total absences: All adults (16-69 years).

Time periods

Doctor-certified: 2001-2014
Self-certified and total absences: 2004-2014

Frequency of updates



Doctor-certified sickness absence is primarily based on information from the Sick Leave Register and the Employee Register. The Sick leave Register is based on the local national insurance office's registrations of medical certificates ("Sykmeldingsattest IA") as part of its sickness benefits routine. All doctor-certified absences due to a person's own illness are included. The Employee Register contains all employees 16-69 years with a job relation scheduled to more than four hours a week and lasting more than six days. The date for start and stop of the job relation and position percentage are the most important variables for calculating sickness statistics.

Self-certified sickness absence is based on a random sample of around 10 000 establishments drawn from the Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises. The establishments are stratified by industry and size, and are divided into five strata by number of employees. This ensures a wide range of industries and sizes of establishments in the sample. Systematic sampling also ensures geographic diversity. All establishments in the same strata of industry and size have the same probability to be drawn. The probability to be drawn increases by size. Establishments with four or less employees are not included, while establishments with over 150 employees are always included. This ensures that the survey covers about 15 per cent of all employees while only six per cent of all establishments are surveyed. Most establishments with less than 150 employees participate in the survey for four years at a time.

Data for self-certified absence is, in other words, estimated based on a survey. The data cannot be subdivided to the same level as doctor-certified absence. Self-certified sickness absence is presented here with no age grouping, and only on national level for men and women separately.

Data quality

Good data quality. The National Insurance Administration performs a number of controls and corrections of doctor's certificates, especially related to overlapping/inconsistencies in dates. Statistics Norway checks both the Sick Leave Register and Employee Register against the register of unemployed persons as well as persons in labour market schemes registered at municipal employment offices. Each year the National Insurance Service performs an annual check of the Employee Register.

Related Materials

Employment, disability pension and health - fact sheet (in Norwegian only)

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