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New Solut ; 32(3): 201-212, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2079283


In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this commentary describes and compares shifting employment and occupational health social protections of low-wage workers, including self-employed digital platform workers. Through a focus on eight advanced economy countries, this paper identifies how employment misclassification and definitions of employees were handled in law and policy. Debates about minimum wage and occupational health and safety standards as they relate to worker well-being are considered. Finally, we discuss promising changes introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic that protect the health of low-wage and self-employed workers. Overall, we describe an ongoing "haves" and a "have not" divide, with on the one extreme, traditional job arrangements with good work-and-health social protections and, on the other extreme, low-wage and self-employed digital platform workers who are mostly left out of schemes. However, during the pandemic small and often temporary gains occurred and are discussed.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , COVID-19/epidemiology , Salaries and Fringe Benefits , Employment , Public Policy
Health Policy ; 126(7): 619-631, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1926473


The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the importance of social protection systems, including income security, when health problems arise. The aims of this study are to compare the follow-up regimes for sick-listed employees across nine European countries, and to conduct a qualitative assessment of the differences with respect to burden and responsibility sharing between the social protection system, employers and employees. The tendency highlighted is that countries with shorter employer periods of sick-pay typically have stricter follow-up responsibility for employers because, in practice, they become gatekeepers of the public sickness benefit scheme. In Germany and the UK, employers have few requirements for follow-up compared with the Nordic countries because they bear most of the costs of sickness absence themselves. The same applies in Iceland, where employers carry most of the costs and have no obligation to follow up sick-listed employees. The situation in the Netherlands is paradoxical: employers have strict obligations in the follow-up regime even though they cover all the costs of the sick-leave themselves. During the pandemic, the majority of countries have adjusted their sick-pay system and increased coverage to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 because employees are going to work sick or when they should self-quarantine, except for the Netherlands and Belgium, which considered that the current schemes were already sufficient to reduce that risk.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Employment , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Sick Leave
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(7)2022 04 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1776244


School attendance is crucial for the development of a child. Sickness absence is the most common type of absenteeism and can be a red flag for underlying problems. To address sickness absence, the intervention Medical Advice for Sick-reported Students for Primary School (MASS-PS) was recently developed. It targets children at risk and is a school-based child and youth health care intervention. The present study is a process evaluation of the intervention. MASS-PS was implemented and evaluated in 29 schools in the West-Brabant region of the Netherlands, during three school years (2017-2020). Attendance coordinators (ACs) from the different schools were interviewed in six focus group interviews as well as in over 200 individual conversations, of which logbooks were kept. Content analysis was used based on a framework of implementation elements. During the first year of the study, the uptake was low. Changes were made by the project group to improve the uptake. The ACs generally considered the MASS-PS as compatible and relevant, but suggested improvements by adding a medical consultation function with a child and youth healthcare physician and increasing the threshold for selecting children at risk. They saw several personal benefits, although time was necessary to learn to use the intervention. An organisational barrier was the lack of teaching staff. A strength in the organisational structure was the appointment of ACs. A major event in the sociological structure was the COVID-19 pandemic. ACs felt that the intervention helped them keep track of sickness absence during the pandemic. The Medical Advice for Sick-reported Students for Primary School intervention was implemented successfully, and the process evaluation gave insight into possible improvements.

COVID-19 , Students, Medical , Absenteeism , Adolescent , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Delivery of Health Care , Humans , Pandemics , Schools