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Employees without paid sick leave more likely to delay, forgo medical treatment: study

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Boca Raton, FL – Workers who lack paid sick leave are more likely to delay or reject medical treatment than workers who have paid sick leave, according to a study from Florida Atlantic University.

Researchers examined data of nearly 19,000 working adults – about 10,500 of whom had paid sick leave – from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey. Several factors, including occupation, health insurance coverage and family size, were taken into account.

Workers with no paid sick leave were 3 times more likely to postpone medical care and 3 times more likely to reject needed treatment regardless of occupation and job status, among other factors. In addition, their families were 2 times more likely to put off medical treatment and 1.6 times more likely to abstain from undergoing needed medical care. Workers with the lowest incomes were at the highest risk of postponing and forgoing medical treatment for themselves and their families.

The researchers noted in a press release that “offering paid sick leave may make good business sense” because employees who work when sick are more likely to be injured and make mistakes. Workers with paid sick time can take off to recover and help avoid spreading disease, they added.

“There are so many positive outcomes related to providing paid sick leave that more employers should consider voluntarily offering this benefit,” Patricia Stoddard-Dare, study co-author and associate professor of social work at Cleveland State University, said in the release.

About 49 million U.S. workers do not have paid sick leave, the release states.

The study was published in the March issue of the journal Health Affairs.

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