Ilse Wicherts is one of our associate members and an expert within the field of occupational health and safety. Her company ArbetsRiktning supports companies in creating a safe working environment. We asked her to tell us more about her company and share some insights on the differences between sick leave in Sweden and the Netherlands.
Can you give us a short introduction of your company?
ArbetsRiktning supports companies in making the working environment safe and sound and is both focussing on structure, and on hands-on training in leadership, safety culture, group dynamics and resilience.
I grounded ArbetsRiktning formally in 2013 and work actively since 2015. Getting two kids within two years time slowed down the start-up process considerably. 2015 activities boosted considerably and since then I´m traveling through Sweden.
What are the differences in 'sick leave' between Dutch and Swedish people?
Differences between industries, companies, local cultures and leadership are probably bigger than differences between 'the Dutch or Swedish- way'. But thinking out loud, there are some differences.
From a Dutch perspective, there is more space in Sweden for a 'wait & see- approach'. Which is due to differences in insurance system and the process around sick leave. Legislation has however changed last June.
Compared to Dutch employers, Swedish employers do organise a lot for their employees. At the same time there is a high work-flexibility (in the way you work, where and when) and leadership-on-distance is quite common. Both requires a higher self-leadership: to organise your own work efficiently, keeping the balance, and making it clear if something is unclear. Responses in form of support is highly depending on the local culture and leadership.
What do the statistics reveal?
Compared with Sweden, sick leave is higher in the Netherlands (2017 national data, totals are including both short- and long-term sick leave). It is difficult to say what the differences depend on.
What are the benefits of a membership of the DC for yourself and your company?
The meetings are always inspiring and in an easy-going atmosphere. In that way it is a huge energizer for me. The meetings have also given me connections, good discussions and inside-information.