Sick Leave Might Improve Workplace Safety

A workplace injury can happen at any time, and often, it catches workers by surprise. When those workers are under the weather, it can be difficult for them to have the necessary focus to complete their daily tasks. Many of these illnesses, like a cold of the flu, generally only require someone to be out only a few days of work.

While injuries and illnesses suffered due to on-the-job causes can receive workers’ compensation benefits, what about these employees with less serious conditions? With each paycheck so important, many workers are reluctant to miss any time from work. Employees may feel that if they are not at work every day that their employers may start looking for someone who will.

A new study has taken a closer look at the relationship between sick employees and workplace injuries. Many workplaces have sick-leave policies in place. Employees receive a set amount of hours that they are allowed to be absent from work when they are not feeling well.

The study, released in the American Journal of Public Health, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined the impact of sick-leave policies and workplace safety. In those companies with paid sick leave, there was a 28 percent lowered risk for workplace injury.

Employees that were paid to recover from their illnesses were less likely to cause injury to their fellow workers. Quite frequently, those workers who did not take time to address their health issues had to take more extensive medical leaves in the future.

A healthy workforce is a productive workforce. Many more companies may need to examine the sick-leave policies that they have in effect to determine if they are jeopardizing the safety of their workers.

Source: The Huffington Post “Sick Paid Leave Linked With Fewer Workplace Injuries: Study” July 31, 2012.