Institute for Women’s Policy Research
, access to paid sick days among employees is associated with positive health outcomes. Workers with paid sick days report better health, are more likely to seek timely care, and are less likely to visit the hospital emergency room, compared to those with no paid sick days. In Connecticut, 37 percent of private-sector workforce, or 471,000 workers, lack access to paid sick days.
“This research shows that access to paid sick days can improve workers’ health, quality of life, and finances—as well as reduce unnecessary costs to the government,” said Claudia Williams, Research Analyst with IWPR.
Employees who lack access to paid sick days are more likely to put off seeking primary care, a practice that can aggravate chronic health conditions and increase the severity of critical conditions or injuries. IWPR’s research shows that these delays can compromise workers’ general health and lead to greater reliance on emergency departments, resulting in to higher health costs overall.
Emergency departments run at high costs shared by private and public insurers, hospitals, and patients. IWPR estimates that 26,000 emergency department visits could be prevented every year in Connecticut if access to paid sick days were universal, saving $18 million annually in preventable medical costs. Reducing the number of emergency department visits could potentially reduce the number of bankruptcies filed due to unpaid medical bills, and is expected to reduce the costs to government paid through public health insurance programs in Connecticut by $4.7 million.
“These results provide more evidence that access to paid sick days reduces health care costs for individuals, insurers, and taxpayers,” said Dr. Kevin Miller, a contributor to the research.
IWPR’s analysis is based on data from the 2008–2009 National Health Interview Survey.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research
(IWPR) conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies. IWPR is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation with the women’s studies and public policy programs at The George Washington University.