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Evaluation of the IA Agreement (2010-2013)

For the second time SINTEF has now evaluated the Agreement on an Inclusive Working life (IA Agreement). The IA Agreement is a comprehensive agreement which currently comprises 60 % of Norwegian employees. The agreement is an important step towards the implementation of a tripartite collaboration in Norwegian working life. In other words, an elaborate political project is being evaluated in this report, and we are humbled by this mission. It has taken approximately 2 years to complete the evaluation.

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Evaluation of the IA Agreement (2010-2013)
Evaluation of the IA Agreement (2010-2013)

The report must be seen in close connection to the previous report our research group undertook: The follow-up of people on sick leave – how does the current regime work? The follow-up of people on sick leave - how does the current regime work? Follow-up plans, dialogue meetings, reporting, controls and sanctions published April 29, 2013. This was a project financed by NAV through the program FARVE  - experimental research funding, work and welfare, but also touches upon key elements in the IA Agreement. Moreover, the projects have several data collection procedures in common. The assessment of the IA Agreement, that is, the results demonstrated in this report, is directly financed by the Ministry of Labour.

The current IA Agreement was entered upon between parties in working life and the authorities (the government represented by the Minister of Labour) February 24 2010 and is valid until the end of 2013. During this time there has been little discussion regarding the Agreement and the work on inclusion, primarily due to the common consensus of the parties to focus on implementation rather than debating the content of the Agreement. However, the debate is likely to heat up now that the contract period is coming to its end and the evaluation is made available. The debaters should do research into the contents of the IA Agreement both on the national and the enterprise level before considering discarding the IA Agreement for the sake of another.

At the heart of the IA Agreement are the multipartite collaboration and the authorities’ obligation to ensure good framework conditions for inclusion endeavors undertaken by enterprises. In this evaluation we have looked at how the national, regional and local tripartite collaboration in the IA Agreement works. Moreover, we have studied the achievement of national objectives, as well as the achievement of goals on the enterprise level for all the secondary goals. We have also assessed NAV Working Life Centre and other policy instruments.   

The report deals with the following primary topics:

  • The cooperation between the social partners
  • Regional and local IA cooperation
  • HSE and IA work
  • Secondary goal 1: Reduce work absence due to illness
  • Secondary goal 2: Increased employment of people with reduced functional ability
  • Secondary goal 3: Extend the average active employment age
  • NAV Working Life Centre
  • Policy instruments in the IA Agreement

The basic data for the evaluation includes:

  • Review of literature and earlier research
  • Review of public documents concerning the Agreement, including a detailed review of the IA Agreement, the Protocol and the Role Document
  • Review of all the reports from the Follow-up group and the Expert group
  • Focus group interviews with the employer organizations involved in the IA Agreement on a central level (NHO (Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise), Virke, Spekter, KS (Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities), FAD, LO (Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions), Unio, Akademikerne (Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations), YS (Confederation of Vocational Unions))
  • Focus group interviews with the Ministry of Labour
  • Focus group interviews with the Expert group
  • Focus group interviews with the Follow-up group
  • Interview with 16 IA enterprises (Managing Directors and mid-level managers), HSE personnel, employee representatives, employees on long-term sick leave and others. The same enterprises interviewed in the last evaluation.
  • Staff interviews at NAV Working Life Centre (6 centres)
  • Interview with The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (focus group)
  • Interview with the Labour and Welfare Service (focus group)
  • Survey among all the employees and managers at NAV Working Life Centres
  • Selected survey of 5 000 IA enterprises with more than 9 employees (randomly chosen from the IA registry; representative of their trade and size)
  • Geography, management and employee representatives. The manager and the employee representative have their own individual form
  • Registered data for IA enterprises (enterprise level) and for all the enterprises without an IA Agreement (detailed industry code, 5 digits NACE),
  • Number of employees, absence due to sickness, cell data age and sex 2001 2012
  • Interview with 18 people on sick leave randomly selected from NAV’s registry of absentees from work
  • In-depth interview with 2 head physicians at NAV
  • Seminar, debate with 20 physicians
  • Extensive survey of all the regular general practitioners (GPs) in the country
  • Interview with 15 occupational health services
  • Extensive survey of all the occupational health services in the country
  • Brief survey of a random selection of 10 000 enterprises regardless of their status as an IA enterprise.

In addition, the research group has over the last few years carried out close to 500 interviews in Norwegian enterprises through other projects, where topics surrounding the IA Agreement, absence from work due to sickness and the follow-up of absentees from work have been naturally recurrent themes in the interviews.   

The researchers responsible for the report are all members of the Expert group Work and Health in the Health unit:

Solveig Osborg Ose
Jan Wilhelm Lippestad
Heidi Jensberg

Key Factors

Project duration

01/01/2013 - 31/12/2013