The Impact of Paid Sick Leave on Coverage Rates, other Fringe Benefits, and Health

The US is one of three industrialized countries without universal access to paid sick leave. Thirty-five percent of all full-time employees lack this coverage. Among low-income and part-time employees, uninsurance rates exceed 80 percent. In addition to concerns about inequality, worker well-being, and productivity, a lack of paid sick leave also contributes to the spread of disease, when ill workers are forced to choose between their health and their job.

This study will evaluate the impact of state-level sick pay mandates on coverage rates, other non-mandated fringe benefits, and the spread of infectious diseases. Researchers will focus on Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont—the only states that have mandated paid sick leave, all within the last five years.

Using data from the National Compensation Survey (NCS), Google Flu data, and state-provided data on rates of influenza-like illness (ILI), the researchers will be able to estimate the causal effects of the mandates on coverage rates, non-mandated fringe benefits, and the spread of disease. Because little to nothing is known about the impact of these recently implemented state-level mandates, this project will provide important insights for academics, policymakers and the public.