A recent study reported in the American Journal of Public Health “suggests that offering paid sick leave might reduce the rate of nonfatal injury among workers and improve the bottom line at the same time.”
The study came to this conclusion utilizing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on approximately 38,000 workers. Between 2005 and 2008, the rate of injury for workers without paid sick leave was 4.18 per 100 workers. In comparison, the injury rate for those with paid sick leave was just 2.59 per 100 workers.
After accounting for the availability of sick leave and the odds of injury among various industries, sex, regions, and level of education, the study discovered that workers who were granted paid sick leave had a 28 percent smaller risk of injury.
Though the study does not establish that paid sick leave automatically equals fewer injuries, it is likely that offering paid sick leave would benefit both employers and workers. Workers with the option to take a paid sick day, who might otherwise come to work if they didn’t have paid sick leave available, may stay home when they feel ill, reducing the chance that they cause an accident and injure themselves. Employers may save on workers’ compensation payments and other injury-related costs (hiring and training new workers or paying overtime to employees to replace the injured worker, for example) and increase the company’s profits.