Sick Paid Leave Linked With Fewer Workplace Injuries: Study

In an ironic twist, a new study shows that workers who are given the ability to take paid sick time off are less likely to be injured on the job than people who don't get paid sick leave.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in the American Journal of Public Health, shows specifically that people with paid sick leave have a 28 percent lowered risk of a workplace injury than people without it.

The risk of workplace injury differed by job type. For health care workers, not having paid sick time off was linked with an 18 percent increased risk of workplace injury. For construction workers, it was a 21 percent increased risk.

"Many workers may feel pressured to work while they are sick, out of fear of losing their income," study researcher Abay Asfaw, Ph.D., said in a statement. "If fewer people work while they are sick, this could lead to safer operations and fewer injuries in the workplace."

The study included 38,000 people who participated in the National Health Interview Survey between 2005 and 2008 who worked in the private sector (since people who work in the public sector are very often given paid sick time off).

Rodale News reported on the results of another study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, showing that not taking that time off when you're sick increases the likelihood of you needing to take even more time off later.

The research, which included 12,000 people, found specifically that people who still came to work while sick six times or more then had a 53 percent increased risk of needing to take off at least two weeks later on due to illness. And they were also at a 72 percent increased risk of having to take off at least two months later on due to illness, Rodale News reported.