Employers offering paid sick time pay less in workers' comp

Employers offering paid sick time pay less in workers' comp

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released their data from a national survey of 38,000 workers, showing that offering paid sick leave may reduce the rates of workplace injuries. Even after accounting for variables such as industry, sex, location and education level, the odds of a non-fatal injury in a workplace offering paid sick leave was 20 percent lower than workplaces that did not.

The data is showing that not only is paid sick time good for the workforce, it is also good for the bottom line. Nonfatal injuries sustained in the workplace result in workers' compensation payments on behalf of the business, detracting from profit. This also detracts from employee benefits. The results of the CDC study may suggest that it is in a company's benefit to offer paid sick time to employees in order to decrease the likelihood of workers' compensation claims.

On the employee side, it may seem like common sense that staying home when sick prevents tripping over a computer cord in cold-medicine stupor. However, the study was not specific to workplace injuries that took place when a worker would have stayed home sick. Rather, the data suggests a trend that if a workplace offers paid sick time, it is likely a workplace which fosters care for and the safety of its employees. Staying home sick also prevents illness from being spread around the workplace.

The details of this case may simply seem like being prudent with one's health and the health of their peers, but the correlation between sick time and injuries is no less interesting. Perhaps, in light of this data, workplaces will be more willing to offer paid sick time to their employees.

Source: New York Times, "Paid Sick Leave May Reduce Work Injuries," Nicholas Bakalar, Aug. 6, 2012

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