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Am J Public Health. 2012 Sep;102(9):e59-64. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300482. Epub 2012 Jun 21.

Paid sick leave and nonfatal occupational injuries.

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Office of the Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington, DC 20201, USA.



We examined the association between US workers' access to paid sick leave and the incidence of nonfatal occupational injuries from the employer's perspective. We also examined this association in different industries and occupations.


We developed a theoretical framework to examine the business value of offering paid sick leave. Data from the National Health Interview Survey were used to test the hypothesis that offering paid sick leave is associated with a reduced incidence of occupational injuries. We used data on approximately 38 000 working adults to estimate a multivariate model.


With all other variables held constant, workers with access to paid sick leave were 28% (95% confidence interval = 0.52, 0.99) less likely than workers without access to paid sick leave to be injured. The association between the availability of paid sick leave and the incidence of occupational injuries varied across sectors and occupations, with the greatest differences occurring in high-risk sectors and occupations.


Our findings suggest that, similar to other investments in worker safety and health, introducing or expanding paid sick leave programs might help businesses reduce the incidence of nonfatal occupational injuries, particularly in high-risk sectors and occupations.

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