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Reduce the sickness absence of your employees

There is a positive link between a good working environment, a good working climate and low sickness absence. Regular efforts to create a good working environment and early detection of when an employee is unwell will improve the chances of reducing sickness absence.

Prioritise employee health

As an employer, it is important that you prioritise the health of your employees, as this is crucial to the efficiency and profitability of your business.

If you as an employer can build an atmosphere of caring in the workplace, you will have come a long way. This increases the possibility of detecting early signs that an employee is not doing well. Examples of early signs include the employee changing their behaviour and starting to not perform as well in the group, or the employee frequently being absent on Fridays and Mondays.

By having an early conversation with the employee, you can find the real problem and see what options are available to resolve the situation. This is where it can sometimes be useful to seek help from occupational health services.

If you act early, you can take steps to try to prevent sick leave and the need for rehabilitation. This saves resources and reduces suffering.

Early action to prevent sickness absence at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (in Swedish)

Occupational health services

Occupational health services has specialists in working environment and in health, health and wellness care, and rehabilitation.

For example, you can call on occupational health services to help with your work environment management when you need to assess physical and mental risks at the workplace. They can also help with job modification and rehabilitation, and with procedures for catching early signs that someone is not doing well and for maintaining contact with employees on sick leave.

You can set up contracts with occupational health services and buy their services. The rules on occupational health services are linked to the employer's obligation to carry out systematic work environment management. Remember that even if you use occupational health services to help with your work environment management, it is always you as the employer who has ultimate responsibility.

Find occupational health services at Sveriges Företagshälsor (in Swedish)


Nowadays, stress is the most common mental health issue and is responsible for a large proportion of all sick leave in Sweden. It is important to prevent or change the conditions that lead to work-related stress. Get help from e.g. a safety officer, occupational health services and your employees to find the best way to work with stress-related issues.

Prevent stress

Systematic work environment management can help you find a good balance between demands and resources.

How you can work to prevent stress at the Swedish Work Environment Authority (in Swedish)

It is not just the physical working environment that can lead to illness and accidents. The number of reported occupational illnesses due to factors such as excessive workload or discriminatory treatment at work is rising sharply. The Swedish Work Environment Authority has therefore developed regulations governing knowledge requirements, objectives, workload, working hours and discriminatory treatment. The regulations have been in force since 31 March 2016.

Regulations for organisational and social working environment at the Swedish Work Environment Authority (in Swedish)

Workplace risks

Managers are responsible for ensuring that employees have sufficient knowledge of the work-related risks so that accidents and ill health can be prevented. And they must intervene immediately in any situation where an employee exposes themselves or others to risks.

A good way of detecting risks and deficiencies in the working environment is to carry out regular safety inspections at the workplace. Do this with the help of a safety officer or other employee representative. All workplaces with at least five employees should have a safety officer. Write down the risks and deficiencies and whether they are serious or not. Actions that are not implemented immediately should be documented in a timetabled action plan.

It is also important to make sure that everyone in the workplace knows who to contact about the working environment and risks.

Work environment management at the Swedish Work Environment Authority (in Swedish)

Investigate accidents and ill health

Draw on the experience of accidents, ill health and incidents that have occurred by pinpointing the causes. Remember to look for reasons why something happened instead of blaming someone.

Workplace-oriented rehabilitation support – grant for investigative measures to prevent and shorten illness cases

As an employer, you can get a grant if you purchase investigative measures to prevent illness and make it easier for employees to return to work after a period of sick leave. The investigative measure must be performed by an approved occupational health services provider or other equivalent approved provider.

Workplace-oriented rehabilitation support at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (in Swedish)

Wellness care

Wellness care has a preventive purpose to keep staff healthy and motivated- As an employer, offering wellness care to your employees is voluntary. You can deduct the cost and you pay no social security contributions on the benefit.

For the employee, exercise and wellness care is a tax-free employee welfare benefit. The crucial factor for tax exemption is that the exercise and wellness care is aimed at the entire workforce, is of a simpler nature and of minor value, and may not be exchanged for cash compensation.

Information for employers on charges for healthcare benefits at the Swedish Tax Agency (in Swedish)