A new study takes a look at the relationship between paid sick leave and workplace injuries. The results point to potential cost savings for employers.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study shows workers with access to paid sick leave were 28% less likely overall to suffer nonfatal occupational injuries than those without access to paid sick leave.
Workers in high-risk occupations and industry sectors, such as construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and health care and social assistance, benefited most from paid sick leave.
The NIOSH study concludes that introducing or expanding paid sick leave can help businesses reduce the number of workplace injuries which in turn could reduce costs to employers.
NIOSH believes this is the first U.S. study of its kind.
What’s the link between paid sick leave and workplace injuries?
When employees don’t have paid sick time, they’re more likely to come to work ill. Workers who aren’t feeling well are more likely to perform at reduced functional capacity, making them less safe and more likely to be injured.
Previous research showed paid sick leave is associated with shorter worker recovery times and reduced complications from minor health problems.
The cost savings by reducing the number of workplace injuries include improved productivity.
Although the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires companies to provide up to 12 weeks of leave to eligible workers, this leave can be paid or unpaid.
In this study, 43% of U.S. private sector workers reported having no access to paid sick leave.
This study is part of the NIOSH Economics Program that focuses on improving the understanding of how economic factors, management strategies and demographic trends affect worker safety and health.
Does your company offer paid sick leave? If so, how much? Let us know about that and what you think about this study in the comments below.