EUROFOUND Study 2007
In 2007 EUROFOUND, the EU agency for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, published a study confirming that Sunday work is detrimental to the health of workers and that the likelihood of sickness and absenteeism problems in establishments that work on Sundays is greater compared to establishments that do not require staff to work on Sundays.
The following findings are excerpts from the study:
Sickness and absenteeism
The logistic regression analysis clearly shows that establishments with unusual working hours in the 21 countries surveyed report problems with sickness and absenteeism more frequently than companies with no such working hours, or only a small incidence of unusual working hours. Moreover, it appears that any use of unusual working hours – even where the number of employees concerned is small – increases the probability that managers report more sickness problems. According to manager assessment, the situation appears to be worse in establishments that have night work and changing working hours – for both incidences, data indicate that the likelihood of encountering difficulties with sickness and absenteeism is 1.6 times greater than in establishments that do not observe such hours. As for the incidence of weekend work, data show similar results for both the cases of Saturday and Sunday work. Here, the likelihood of sickness and absenteeism problems is still 1.3 times greater compared to establishments that do not require staff to work on the weekend.
It can be concluded from the results of the logistic regression analysis that managers experience motivational problems with employees who are exposed to unusual working hours. As with problems of absenteeism and sickness, the highest increase of probability is to be found in establishments where at least 20% of employees are exposed to regular night work. The likelihood for establishments to experience motivational problems is roughly 1.5 times greater for companies working both at night and on Saturdays compared to those who do not observe these working hours. In establishments that work on Sundays or at changing hours, the probability of encountering difficulties with staff motivation is still 1.4 times greater than in establishments where those hours are not worked.