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Paid Sick Time Pays Off in Long Run, Says Report

Working families without paid sick days struggle to afford staying home with an ill child. (barterville/morguefile.com)
Working families without paid sick days struggle to afford staying home with an ill child. (barterville/morguefile.com)
March 23, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. - One-point-four million North Carolina workers do not have access to paid sick leave, which a new report finds could be affecting the health of their families.

The research, from Florida Atlantic University, says families without sick-leave benefits, including those with children, are twice as likely to delay health care treatment.

Working mother Carzella McGlothin says she worries about the spread of illness when people come to work instead of staying home when they're sick.

And because she doesn't have paid sick time, she loses money when she stays home to care for a sick child.

"A parent needs to be with their kids when they're sick, because we know what they're going through instead of putting it all on other people to watch our kids while we're at work and they're sick," says McGlothin. "My family, we all pull together, but it's kind of hard because everybody works. So, it's a tough cookie trying to get it together."

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.

Only four states, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon, require employers to offer paid sick-time benefits.

Associate professor LeaAnne DeRigne, the study's lead author, says paid sick leave is good for workers and businesses.

"What research has shown is that workers with paid sick leave who are able to recuperate are actually more productive than workers who are on the job ill," says DeRigne. "I think that we're really starting to see where it makes business sense to give your employees paid sick leave."

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.

She adds the U.S. lags behind 22 other countries that make employers provide paid sick days.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC