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Is paid sick leave good for business?

Photo: bankrx/iStockphoto

Cleveland — Paid sick leave benefits employees and their employers, a review of 22 years of research has concluded.

Researchers from Cleveland State University and Florida Atlantic University reviewed research from six databases to examine the connections between paid sick leave and short-/long-term U.S. business results. That includes worker safety and health; organizational profitability, productivity and performance; employee morale and job satisfaction; and turnover and retention.

Findings show that employees who had access to paid sick leave had fewer work-related injuries, less presentism, fewer absences caused by sickness, and higher morale and job satisfaction. Meanwhile, their employers recorded fewer worker deaths, experienced better employee retention, and had higher profits and performance.

“Although increased absence from work is a serious concern for policymakers in the debate of paid sick leave,” study co-author Patricia Stoddard-Dare, a professor in CSU’s School of Social Work, said in a press release, “our study showed absences from work, while disruptive to business, also may limit the spread of contagious disease in the workplace and thereby lessen presenteeism, reduce occupational injury and promote a quicker return to optimal employee functioning.”

The release notes that the United States is one of the few developed countries not to offer paid sick leave on a federal level. Currently, 18 states prohibit paid sick leave laws, while 14 have enacted such laws.

“Aside from small increases in worker absence, what we found was … a trove of evidence suggesting paid sick leave is linked with favorable business outcomes,” study co-author Candice Vander Weerdt, a faculty member in CSU’s College of Business, said in the release.

The study was published online in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

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