Objective To review the occurrence and magnitude of workplace productivity loss and sick leave in inflammatory arthritis (IA) patients and to identify determinants. Methods PubMed, EMbase, PsycINFO and CINAHL articles to July 2012 on IA and workplace productivity loss or sick leave were reviewed. Methodological quality was assessed by a criteria list developed by the authors. Results 47 original studies were identified. The occurrence of sick leave in IA patients varied from 3.7% in the past 4 days to 84% in the past 2.5 years. Total duration of sick leave ranged from 0.1 to 11 days over 1 month. Pain and functional disability were associated with sick leave and workplace productivity loss. About 17%-88% of IA patients experienced workplace productivity loss, four studies investigated determinants. Tumour necrosis factor inhibitors were associated with reduced workplace productivity loss and sick leave. Conclusions IA impacts worker productivity, but its estimated magnitude varies. Higher levels of sick leave and workplace productivity loss were reported for increased levels of pain and decreased levels of functional ability.