The agreement between the Norwegian Government and social partners on a more inclusive working life (the IA Agreement) was first signed in 2001 and has since been extended four times, most recently through to 2025. With the IA Agreement, companies commit themselves to work systematically to reduce sickness absence and withdrawal from work life by, among other things, increasing the focus on preventive working environment efforts. The aim is to increase employment by achieving the goal of a more inclusive working life, and considerable resources are being spent, both at the national level and in individual workplaces.

This project aims to assess the effects of workplace initiatives related to the IA Agreement, and in particular their effects on sickness absence and work participation, through the utilisation and development of novel statistical and causal methods for large-scale registry data, such as multi-state modelling. The secondary objectives are to understand more closely how effects of interventions aimed at reducing sickness absence and increasing work participation differ between occupations, industrial sectors, genders and socioeconomic groups. There will be a particular focus on the two largest patient groups with respect to sickness absence and disability, namely individuals with musculoskeletal and psychiatric diagnoses. Two large cohorts combining several national registries will be used in data analysis; one containing 626,928 individuals born in Norway 1967-1976 and the other comprising all individuals born between 1930-1992 who have lived or worked in Norway (over 6.4 million individuals).

The project has received funding from the Research Council of Norway (RCN).

The project is a collaborative project between STAMI and the Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology (OCBE), with Jon Michael Gran as the overall project manager.

The project is a continuation of previous projects. The first one was “Social inequalities in health: childhood health and subsequent work participation”, which was established in 2002 and received funding from RCN for the first time in 2006. Later, two sub-projects also received funding from RCN: “Work participation and work-related health: a life course perspective” and “Understanding the causes and consequences of dropping out of school: the need for a life-course approach”. The project also builds on two Nordic projects: “Nordic Occupational Register – A Tool for Estimation of the Potential of Workplace and Population Level Interventions”, funded by NordForsk (2016–2019), and the continuation, “To what extent are work disability and exit from work preventable? Completing the Nordic Work Disability Database and utilizing it to look at ocA hybrid landmark Aalen-Johansen cupation-specific prevention potential and working life expectancy”, funded by The Nordic Council of Ministers (2018–2023).

Project leader: Ingrid Sivesind Mehlum