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Using micro-data from the European Union's Labour Force Survey for 28 countries this study investigates the incidence and intensity of individuals' sickness-absence behavior, and assesses the importance of labor market characteristics like unemployment and the extent of atypical contracts and second job-holding on individuals' sickness absence. The results identify that unemployment affects sickness absence through different pathways, exerting a negative effect on the probability of being absent and a positive effect on the duration of absence. In addition, the degree of second job-holding and part-time contracts in the labor market is found to be negatively related to individuals' sickness absence.