OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to analyse how people who return to the labour market after long-term sickness absenteeism and subsequent job loss differ in employability, work ability, health, educational level, age, and gender, compared to those who do not.
PARTICIPANTS: The cohort consisted of 191 individuals, 20 men and 171 women, whose employment was terminated because they had not been able to return to their regular work after taking a long-term sick leave and rehabilitation measures.
METHODS: This study is based on a postal questionnaire sent out to a cohort of previous employees in a Swedish municipality in 2008.
RESULTS: At the time of the survey, 39% of the respondents had returned to the labour market and the remaining 61% had not. Return to the labour market after a long-term sick leave was positively associated with male gender, young age, and work ability, i.e. the ability to work with respect to health and work-related demands. Employability, educational level, and health were not significantly associated with a return to the labour market.
CONCLUSIONS: In the discourse on employability, work ability is often neglected even though it is a central aspect of an individual's ability to obtain new employment.
IOS Press , 2013. Vol. 44, no 4, 449-457 p.