Activation Policies and Sick-Listed Workers’ Experiences and Trust in the Sickness Insurance System in Local Practice
2014 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
In recent welfare and labour market reforms in Europe and North America, there is a general trend towards activation, in that people (e.g. those who are sick-listed, unemployed and recipients of social welfare) are expected to be “active”, rather than “passive”, recipients of financial benefits. Meanwhile, street-level bureaucracy in many welfare state organizations has been fundamentally reformed in recent years with the implementation of New Public Management Principles which have come to influence the day-to-day work of front-line staff. The aim of this paper is to analyse sick-listed workers’ experiences of the sickness insurance system in their contact with the SSIA and their front-line staff. The data consists of semistructured interviews with 18 sick-listed workers in Sweden. The material was analysed using qualitative content analysis. The findings illustrate that sick-listed workers experienced contacts with the Social Insurance Agency (SSIA) as “standardized”; that is, they perceived that the officials were loyal to demands in their organizations rather than involved actors that supported workers’ individual needs. The SSIA was described as having a mainly administrative and controlling function during their sick leave, resulting in a distant relationship. It was also clear that sick-listed individuals experienced the activation policy as demanding, and their sick leave was characterized by insecurity and uncertainty. Overall, this paper suggests that activation policies with regulations emphasizing time limits, and enforcement of standardized work processes at the SSIA, challenge sick-listed workers’ trust in the sickness insurance system.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Occupational Therapy Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Work Sciences Political Science Sociology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-112398OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-112398DiVA: diva2:765933