Report: Health Care Outcomes Troubling for Families Without Paid Sick Leave
Monday, March 14, 2016
DENVER – Chipotle was back in the news recently for closing a Boston area restaurant after four employees got sick.
The embattled restaurant chain decided to offer paid sick leave last year, and according to a new report it was a smart business move.
LeaAnne DeRigne, the study's lead author, says the U.S. lags behind 22 other countries that make employers provide paid sick days.
"What research has shown is that workers with paid sick leave who are able to recuperate are actually more productive than, you know, workers who are on the job ill,” she states. “I think that we're really starting to see where it makes business sense to give your employees paid sick leave."
The report found that families without sick leave benefits, including those with children, are twice as likely to delay health care treatment.
DeRigne says timely care is important for making sure conditions don't get worse and end up costing a lot more than a day's wages.
Only four states – California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon – require employers to offer paid sick benefits.
DeRigne says that leaves 49 million workers without sick days. She says when workers in jobs dealing with the public – such as food service, child care, retail and others – show up to work sick, it can create public health issues.
"We don't want people serving us burritos who have the flu,” she stresses. “And if you're going to pick up a bowl of soup somewhere, you really hope that the person who made that is not ill at work. We want them home, self-quarantining, so that we're not all passing germs to one another."
DeRigne said keeping sick children out of school helps keep other children from getting sick, so workers need paid time off to stay home with them.
The study found people in low-wage jobs without benefits are most vulnerable, and sick workers are also more prone to injuries and making mistakes.
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