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Offering paid sick leave is good for business

Around Campus, Research Highlights

Business leaders who think providing paid sick leave will hurt productivity and bottom lines might need to think again.

That’s according to a new study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine by Cleveland State University and Florida Atlantic University.

“Considering the weight that has been given over time to the potential harm of paid sick leave to business, we were surprised to find so little evidence to support this concern,” said Candice Vander Weerdt, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a faculty member in the Monte Ahuja College of Business at CSU.

Key findings from the study show access to paid sick leave means less occupational injury, spread of contagious disease, “presenteeism,” and employee death. There was more evidence that paid sick leave was related to favorable business conditions such as employee morale and job satisfaction, improved retention, higher profitability and firm performance, and favorable labor market conditions, compared to evidence supporting negative business consequences, such as worker absence.

“Our study is particularly timely given the health concerns, mass resignations, and labor shortages observed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which have compromised access to healthy, reliable, and enduring human resources,” said Patricia Stoddard-Dare, Ph.D., co-author and a professor in the School of Social Work at CSU’s College of Health.

Researchers also found evidence suggesting paid sick leave was associated with lower spread of disease, not only for the workers themselves, but for an entire region where paid sick leave is mandated by law. 

“We hope our study findings will help to inform a wide variety of stakeholders and assist them to better prepare for both routine and unexpected health interruptions while safeguarding business well-being,” said Dr. Stoddard-Dare.

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