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Study: Paid sick leave results in fewer work injuries

A recently released study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that employers that do not provide their employees with sick leave may want to reconsider this position. The reason? Employees who come to work while under the weather because they don't have paid sick leave are more likely to suffer some sort of work injury.

The CDC researchers arrived at this conclusion by examining data on 38,000 private sector workers gathered during the National Health Interview Survey from 2005 to 2008. (Public sector workers were not included because they all receive paid sick leave).

Interestingly, they determined that those private sector employees with paid sick leave were 28 percent less likely to suffer a serious work-related injury as compared with their counterparts with no paid sick leave. In fact, this trend was found to hold true even when such factors as sex, age and pay rate were taken into account.

"Many workers may feel pressured to work while they are sick, out of fear of losing their income," said Abay Asfaw, a senior service fellow with the CDC. "If fewer people work while they are sick, this could lead to safer operations and fewer injuries in the work place."

The injuries that employees suffered while working sick ran the gamut from simple strains, cuts and fractures to more severe injuries like herniated discs, damage to cartilage and even spinal injuries.

Why exactly are sick workers so much more at risk of suffering on-the-job injuries?

The study, published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Public Health, theorized that sick workers are often drowsy, taking medications that may affect their level of concentration, and altogether less focused on the task at hand.

Stay tuned for more our workers' compensation defense blog ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


Fox News, "Sick days make workers less likely to suffer on-the-job injuries," July 31, 2012

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