Layoff survivors take more sick leave

Major downsizing has long-term effects
||Last Updated: 04/08/2003

A study of 764 Finnish workers who remained employed following large layoffs indicates that staying on may adversely affect employees’ health.

Dr. Jussi Vahtera of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has released research indicating that:

•employees who survive a major downsizing are more than twice as likely to take sick leave as those who withstand minor cutbacks;

•following a major downsizing, employees are 2.5 times more likely to rank their health as poor, to have musculoskeletal symptoms and to suffer musculoskeletal pain as those who survive smaller layoffs; and

•retained employees claim poor health even four years after a major downsizing.

Dr. Vahtera attributed the results to increased stress caused by a greater workload, less job security and a decreased ability to participate in decision-making.

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