The study authors also pointed out that their findings support previous research that found that access to paid sick leave is associated with shorter recovery times and fewer complications from minor health problems. In addition, paid sick leave for workers could reduce the risk of spreading illnesses, particularly in day-care facilities and schools, the researchers noted.
In the United States, employers have the option to provide their workers with paid sick leave, but it's not required. The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act mandates public- and private-sector companies to provide up to 12 weeks of leave to eligible workers, but it doesn't have to be paid leave, the authors explained in the release. In 2010, only 40 million private-sector employees in the United States had access to paid sick leave.
More research is needed to better understand how paid sick leave could benefit communities and prevent the spread of disease, the study authors concluded.
The study was released online in advance of print publication in the American Journal of Public Health.
The U.S. Department of Labor has more about sick leave.
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, July 30, 2012
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