Research and development show that today’s working life has an untapped potential for employees’ involvement and participation in planning and organisation. In this sector, self-registered and physician-registered sick leave is higher than what is deemed acceptable, and it is considered a problem that too many employees retire with disability pensions or choose early retirement. This report aims at giving leaders and employees in the municipal health and care sector more knowledge about what participation and involvement for employees entail, how democracy in the workplace can be supported, and workers’ health can be promoted.

According to Norwegian legislation, employers are obliged to facilitate employees’ involvement in decision and planning processes concerning organisation and work division. This obligation is set down in policy documents and statutes. The report demonstrates that it is not always acted upon. Many employees experience an imbalance between their responsibilities and possibilities for exercising agency, e.g. they experience little influence on their own working days and having low impact on planning and strategy development. The report shows that employees can improve their own work environment and working conditions if they are given the pos­sibility to do so. Democracy in the workplace, efficiency (i.e. the relationship between what is done/production and cost) and workers’ health are all under threat if employees are not involved and their contributions are not integrated in local governance and planning.

This report answers the following questions:                       

  • What are the drivers and barriers for participation and involvement of employees in the Norwegian municipal health and care sector?                        
  • Which resources and tools can be used to facilitate participation, involvement and an inclusive working life in the municipal health and care sector?