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Should I Go to Work Sick or Stay Home and Rest?

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 6 (1352 words)
Categories: Health, Work
Downloads: 44
Views: 26

Everyone faces this dilemma at least once in their lifetime: should I go to work sick or stay home and rest? Unsurprisingly, many people choose to go to work. Most people simply cannot afford to miss a day of work. What if your child gets sick? Are you supposed to choose between your child’s health or having electricity for the month? These tough situations are not just theoretical scenarios, people all across the United States are faced with such dilemmas every day.

Only eight states in the U.S. have a paid sick leave law as of 2018. These states include California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Oregon, Washington, the District of Columbia, and, as of recent Michigan. Moreover, across the United States, 22 cities have a paid sick leave law that gives full-time employees paid sick leave depending on how many hours they have worked (Udice). The importance of paid sick leave is paramount. Research has shown that paid sick leave would reduce health care costs, reduce the risks and cost of the spread of disease, slow the spread of disease, allow employers to save money from a greater workforce stability, and increase worker productivity.

More states across the U.S. should adopt a paid sick leave law.

People who do not have paid sick leave are less likely to obtain medical care, which results in postponed and more expensive treatment. Workers without paid sick leave are “three times more likely than those with paid sick days to neglect medical care for themselves, and they are nearly two times more likely to forgo medical care for their families” (DeRigne). Also, those workers are unlikely able to afford health care products and services; furthermore, they are more likely to generate high medical expenses and more likely to have a family income below the poverty line than those who have paid sick leave. Not having paid sick leave continues to be an obstacle that prevents health care access, despite preventive health care services becoming more affordable under the Affordable Care Act. Workers without paid sick leave are less likely to go to the doctor or access preventive care, such as cancer screenings, yearly physicals, immunizations, and flu shots. When workers are unable to take time off to get medical care during regular work hours, they are left with limited choices of care and are more likely to go to the emergency room as a costly last resort. Workers with paid sick leave are “32 percent less likely than people without paid sick leave to visit the emergency department repeatedly” (Bhuyan). It is estimated that preventable emergency room visits among workers without paid sick days cost the United States more than $1.1 billion per year (Miller). According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, if all workers had paid sick days, 1.3 million emergency room visits could be prevented and public and private costs would be saved. In addition to reducing healthcare costs, paid sick leave would also reduce the risks and cost of disease.

Employees who go to work sick endanger businesses by putting the health of other workers, as well as customers and the public, at risk. The risks and costs of contagion are highest in workplaces where employees regularly deal with the public, and these are frequently the very workplaces that typically do not allow workers to earn paid sick leave (Batt). In the restaurant industry, for example, the vast majority of workers, 87.7 percent, say they lack access to paid sick days, and nearly two-thirds of servers and cooks, 63 percent, report that they have served or cooked while sick (Restaurant Opportunities Centers United). In a CDC (Centers for Disease Control) study, 49 percent of food workers who had worked at least one shift while suffering from vomiting or diarrhea said that knowing they would not be paid if they stayed home influenced their decision to work while sick (L. Rand). This puts workers, customers, and the business itself in danger. If these ill workers get customers sick, the business would face repercussions, such as decreased business and falling stock prices. Paid sick leave would help combat against such repercussions. Along with reducing the risks and cost of disease, paid sick leave slows the spread of disease.

Cities and states that require employers to offer paid sick leave, such as Seattle, New York City, and Philadelphia, as well as California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Oregon, have fewer cases of seasonal flu than other comparable cities and states (Pichler). Doctors Robert Drago and Kevin Miller compared the number of reported cases of the flu from states with a paid sick leave law to states without and estimated that flu rates would fall 5 percent if paid sick leave were universal. According to one approximation, “Seven million people contracted the H1N1 flu virus in 2009 because employees came to work while infected” (Frakt). A five percent drop in flu rates doesn’t seem significant, however, that would be three hundred and fifty thousand fewer people who did not contract the H1N1 virus in 2009 had paid sick leave been universal then. Paid sick leave has many advantages yet there are many critics.

Logan Albright, the author of the article “Mandatory Sick Leave is Bad Medicine for Workers and Employers Alike,” states that allowing workers to earn paid sick days is akin to forcing employers to give paid sick days. The opposers of paid sick leave state that the impact of a paid sick leave will “Not only hurt businesses but also consumers and the very workers it seeks to protect in the form of higher prices, lower employment and a further drag on an already weak economy.” (Albright). Some business owners warn that paid sick leave will cost jobs and reduce competitiveness, especially among the smaller firms who rely heavily on just a few employees.

Studies show that replacing workers can cost anywhere from 16 to 200 percent of annual compensation (Boushey). It should be noted for critics that paid sick days reduce turnover, which leads to reduced costs incurred from advertising, interviewing and training new hires. This is particularly important in lower-wage industries where turnover is highest. A study of restaurant industry practices found that “implementing better workplace practices, including paid sick days,” can reduce turnover by 50 percent (Batt). In Austin, Texas, a cost-benefit analysis of the citywide paid sick leave ordinance showed that on average, city businesses stand to save $4.5 million annually, largely as a result of reduced employee turnover (Milli). In addition, the community stood to save $3.7 million per year due to reduced flu contagion, fewer emergency room visits, and other public health benefits.

Paid sick leave would help to reduce the productivity lost when employees work sick, which is estimated to cost the national economy $160 billion annually or about $218 billion when adjusted for inflation, surpassing the cost of absenteeism (Stewart). A 2014 study of Connecticut’s paid sick leave law found that employers saw a 15 percent increase in productivity, 20 percent saw a reduction in sick workers coming to the office, and 30 percent saw a notable improvement in employee morale (Ingraham). A year and a half after the law went into effect, more than three-quarters of employers supported the paid sick leave law.

In the United States, there are only eight states and 22 cities that have some form of a paid sick leave law. The citizens living in the remaining cities and states are faced with a periodic dilemma: do I go to work sick or stay home and rest? Since most people can not afford to miss work, a majority of people would go to work sick. For this reason, paid sick leave is extremely important. When people go to work sick they risk increasing their healthcare costs, spreading disease, and much more. If more states adopted a paid sick leave law, the advantages would be plentiful; healthcare costs would be lowered, the risks and cost of the spread of disease would be decreased, the spread of disease would be slowed, employers would save money from a greater workforce stability, and worker productivity would increase.

Cite this essay

Should I Go to Work Sick or Stay Home and Rest?. (2019, Dec 11). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/should-i-go-to-work-sick-or-stay-home-and-rest-essay

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