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Potential Economic Benefits of Paid Sick Leave in Reducing Absenteeism Related to the Spread of Influenza-Like Illness

Asfaw, Abay PhD; Rosa, Roger PhD; Pana-Cryan, Regina PhD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: September 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 9 - p 822–829
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001076
Original Articles

Objective: Most U.S. employers are not required to provide paid sick leave (PSL), and there is limited information on the economic return of providing PSL. We estimated potential benefits to employers of PSL in reducing absenteeism related to the spread of influenza-like illness (ILI).

Methods: We used nationally representative data and a negative binomial random effects model to estimate the impact of PSL in reducing overall absence due to illness or injury. We used published data to compute the share of ILI from the total days of absence, ILI transmission rates at workplaces, wages, and other parameters.

Results: Providing PSL could have saved employers $0.63 to $1.88 billion in reduced ILI-related absenteeism costs per year during 2007 to 2014 in 2016 dollars.

Conclusion: These findings might help employers consider PSL as an investment rather than as a cost without any return.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Office of the Director, Economics Research and Support Office, Washington, District of Columbia (Drs Asfaw, Pana-Cryan), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Office of the Director, Washington, District of Columbia (Dr Rosa).

Address correspondence to: Abay Asfaw, PhD, Economist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Office of the Director, Economics Research and Support Office, 395 E Streets, SW, Washington, DC 20201 (hqp0@cdc.gov).

The findings and conclusions in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

No external funding was provided for this research. The authors declare no actual or potential conflicts of interest.

Authors Asfaw, Rosa, and Pana-Cryan have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine