Workers with 10 or more paid sick days are far more likely to seek preventive healthcare services such as flu shots, cholesterol screenings, and mammograms, a new study shows.
Researchers from Cleveland State University (CSU) and Florida Atlantic University (FAU), based in Boca Raton, used a sample of 3,235 working adults ages 49 to 57 in 2014 from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.
Approximately 93% of the sample had some sort of healthcare plan. The median number of paid sick days was 7, with 27% of those surveyed reporting they had no paid sick days. Only 10% had 20 or more paid sick days, 26% had 2 or fewer, and 43% had 10 or more.
“It took 10 or more days — more days than are mandated in any of the local U.S. paid sick leave laws – for us to see statistically significant increases in the likelihood of reporting having received a flu vaccination, mammography, and screenings for blood sugar and blood pressure,” said the study’s lead author, LeaAnne DeRigne, PhD, of FAU.
“For policy makers who want to increase preventive healthcare services use in this age group, a longer and more generous paid sick leave plan of at least 10 days should be considered.”
Female-focused preventive services showed a 55% increase in the use of preventive mammography.
Workers with 10 or more paid sick leave days had a 33% increase in getting a flu shot, a 28% increase in screening their blood sugar, and a 69% increase in checking their blood pressure as compared with those with only up to 2 paid sick days. Employees with 10 or more days of paid sick leave also had a 34% increase in cholesterol screening.
Study co-author Patricia Stoddard-Dare, PhD, of CSU, said the study findings show that a lack of paid sick leave influences work health and public health: “Workers who lack paid sick leave are more likely to go to work when they are sick and spread contagious diseases, such as influenza, in the workplace. Paid sick leave is incredibly valuable because it provides both job protection and pay during times when employees must miss work for health-related reasons.”
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