Paid Sick Leave Reduces Workplace Injuries

Offering paid sick leave to employees reduces the amount of workplace injuries, according to a recent study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
The study, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that a group of 38,000 working adults were 28% less likely to have a workplace injury if they had paid sick leave. With the potential financial savings, this reduction in non-fatal workplace injuries is good news for small business employers.
As part of the study, NIOSH examined the number of workplace injuries compared to employees with paid sick leave. They also looked at industries with a higher risk of workplace injury including construction, health care, manufacturing, and agriculture. Workplace injuries in these professions range from severe hand and finger accidents in manufacturing plants to bodily injuries in agriculture and construction industries.
“From these results we concluded that introducing or expanding employee access to paid sick leave might help businesses reduce the incidence of occupational injuries. This could, in turn, reduce costs to employers. To our knowledge, this is the first U.S. study to examine this issue empirically,” said  senior service fellow for NIOSH, Abay Asfaw, Ph.D., senior scientist for NIOSH, Regina Pana-Cryan, Ph.D., and the NIOSH deputy associate director for Science, Roger R. Rosa in a statement about the study.
One theory for the decrease in workplace injuries is this: when an employee is having an off day, he will call in sick and use his paid leave. Without paid sick leave benefits, employees are likely to go to work and the lack of alertness or feeling sick leads to accidents. It is no surprise, then, that employees showing up for work when they feel ill or are suffering from pain lose concentration and have reduced productivity. Offering paid sick leave also enables employees who have illnesses, like a cold or the flu, an opportunity to call in sick. This prevents the illness from spreading to other employees, thus minimizing the loss in productivity from other employees getting sick.
The NIOSH study follows the results of data collected between 2003 and 2008, which proved 43% of private-sector workers were not offered paid sick leave. NIOSH examined the comparison between occupational injuries and available paid sick leave and are now confident that offering this benefit is an advantage to the employers as well. Companies now have a bigger incentive to offering paid sick leave.