Paid Sick Leave Lowers Work Injuries, Study Shows

Blowing Nose in Front of LaptopA recent study indicates that allowing workers to take paid sick leave can lower the rate of workplace injuries among employees, while simultaneously boosting a company’s bottom line. See our previous story on sick leave legislation in Washington State, “New Bill Requires Seattle Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave and Safe Time

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pulled data from nearly 40,000 workers nationwide, finding that between 2005 to 2008, injury rates were 2.59 per 100 among workers with paid sick leave was, compared to 4.18 in 100 among those without it.

The availability of sick leave and the rates of injury vary by workplace, gender, education and location. Yet even after these factors are taken into consideration, the research indicates that the chances of an injury were 28% lower among workers with paid sick leave. There was also a substantially lower risk of developing a serious occupational disease.

The authors, writing online in The American Journal of Public Health, claim that the data do not confirm a causal relationship between leave and the lower rates of workers injured at work. Yet the lead author, Dr. Asfaw, stated that offering paid sick leave benefits both workers and employers.

“We can infer,” Mr. Asfaw said, “that lower injury rates mean lower levels of workers’ compensation payments. In the long term, paid sick leave might help employers to reduce cost and increase profit.”

Emery Reddy has wide-ranging experience helping workers collect benefits and L&I claims from the department of L&I Washington State. Our labor lawyers represent employees with both workers compensation cases and Seattle third party claims. Contact us today for help with your case.


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