This paper investigates differences in worker absence between privately and publicly employed workers in Swedish primary schools and preschools. Using hive-offs, i.e., ownership changes from a public to a private owner, I analyze the effects of private versus public employment on sickness absence, parental leave, and temporary leave for care of children. The empirical analysis suggests a substantial negative effect on sickness absence in preschools, but not in primary schools. For parental leave and temporary parental leave for care of children, no significant effects are found in either industry. The fact that parental leave, which is voluntary to a greater extent than sickness absence, seems to be unaffected by ownership opposes the argument of stronger incentives for effort in the private sector. However, the finding of a negative effect on sickness absence suggests that private employment may be associated with better work conditions, at least for workers in the preschool sector.