Paid sick leave makes for healthier, more productive workers

Health care workers without paid sick leave at 18% higher risk of injury

A CDC study reveals that employees with paid sick leave are healthier than those without it.

Researchers from the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health analyzed national survey data collected between 2005 and 2008 for 38,000 private sector employees. They found that employees in high-risk industries—such as construction, health care, and manufacturing—stand to benefit the most from paid sick leave. For example:

  • Health care workers and technicians without paid sick leave were 18% more likely to suffer a nonfatal work-related injury in comparison to those who had access to this benefit; and
  • Construction workers without paid sick leave were 21% more likely to suffer a nonfatal work-related injury in comparison to those who had access to this benefit.

Their findings corroborate prior research that found that paid sick leave improves recovery times and reduces complications from minor health problems. Furthermore, paid sick days can help limit the spread of illness.

"Many workers may feel pressured to work while they are sick, out of fear of losing their income, "says lead author Abay Asfaw."If fewer people work while they are sick, this could lead to safer operations and fewer injuries in the workplace" (Dallas, HealthDay, 8/2).


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