Unlimited sick leave – would it work?

16.03.2023 - 10:09
Unlimited sick leave – would it work?
A beautiful concept which might not catch on in the Faroes, says trade union boss

It is common in some parts of the world, not very common in the Nordics and unheard of in the Faroes.

There are many terms to describe it, including ‘unlimited sick leave’, ‘managed sick leave’ and ‘uncapped sick leave’.

Essentially, this is where employees can take time off from work at the discretion of the management.

A few Faroese eyebrows were raised when it emerged recently that Danish company Norlys decided to introduce an unlimited sick leave policy for its 3,000 employees.

 >> SEE ALSO Teacher stress should count as sick leave

“This must be the ultimate declaration of trust from the management,” Súni Selfoss, the chairman of the country’s largest trade union, Starvsfelagið, says about Norlys’ initiative.

The Norlys management has decided to offer its staff as many days off as they need when their children are sick, without any deductions in salary or loss in holidays.

“This is how you create job satisfaction and loyalty. I am convinced that Norlys is doing this because the management knows the positives outweigh the negative. This company will become extremely desirable for jobseekers,” says Selfoss.

“This level of trust from the management breeds a level of staff loyalty in which very few employees would abuse such a system.”

Would it work in the Faroes?

Much as Selfoss commends this approach, he acknowledges that it would not be easy to implement such a system in the Faroes.

“This would not work in all companies, but I believe it would be very useful in large workplaces,” he says.

“We may need a change of attitude here in the Faroes because Faroese employers probably do not tend to have these levels of trust in their staff. I don’t predict any mass adoption of this principle in the Faroes, but it certainly is a system worth considering.”


Read the Faroese version of this article here.

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