According to a recent research study reported by the Insurance Journal, paid sick leave can actually be viewed by business owners as a robust strategy for managing work-related injuries and workers’ compensation costs. Paid sick leave reportedly has the potential to make workplaces safer, minimizing chances of work-related injuries or other costly mistakes.
Work-Related Injuries and Illness
Workers who have access to paid sick leave are 28% less likely to suffer nonfatal occupation injuries when compared to workers who don’t have the option for paid sick leave, according to a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health by Abay Asfaw, Regina Pana-Cryan, and Roger R. Rosa.
According to that study, when employers provide paid sick leave, workplace injuries are less likely. As a result, businesses that offer paid sick leave pay less in costly paid injured time off or paid injury leave. Factor in the potential for workers’ compensation claims and overhead costs, and paid sick leave becomes a reasonable strategy for minimizing business expenses while improving overall employee wellness and productivity.
How Paid Sick Leave Impacts Work-Related Injuries
Paid sick leave most likely keeps workers safer by minimizing the frequency of sick or injured workers who go back to work before they are ready to resume normal activities. When paid sick leave isn’t an option, workers tend to come back to work sooner, but at a fraction of their usual capacity. Impaired performance due to illness or injury increases the likelihood of a workplace injury that can keep the worker (or many workers) out of commission for much longer than the original reason for missing work.
According to the published article, “introducing or expanding paid sick leave programs might help businesses reduce the incidence of nonfatal occupational injuries, particularly in high risk sectors.” The high-risk fields cited in the study include agriculture, construction, manufacturing and healthcare.
Previous research, they write, shows that paid sick leave can reduce worker recovery times and complications that compound minor health problems. The researchers say they hope that their study, when combined with other pertinent research, will “encourage policy makers and employers to consider the overall well-being of workers when making policy or funding decisions.”
Minimizing Work-Related Injuries
Changes in policy on a business-by-business basis could raise productivity and help drive down workers’ compensation expenses, potentially creating a win-win situation for employers and employees alike.
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