Unpaid sick leaves negatively impact workers


A new study says that workers, who take sick leaves when ill and when not paid for the leaves, face mental distress due to the fear of losing wage or job.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University and Cleveland State University said that only seven states in the U.S. have a mandate provision for paid sick leaves.

“For many Americans, daily life itself can be a source of stress as they struggle to manage numerous responsibilities including health-related issues,” said study’s first author, Patricia Stoddard-Dare.

“Making matters worse, for those who lack paid sick leave, a day away from work can mean lost wages or even fear of losing one’s job,” added Stoddard-Dare, an associate professor of social work at Cleveland State. These stressors all together have the potential to interfere with workplace performance and affect overall mental health, she said in a Florida Atlantic news release.


The researchers investigated nearly 18,000 workers, aged 18-64; out of which, 40% did not have paid sick leaves. The result indicated in comparison to workers with paid sick leaves, workers without paid sick leaves had higher level of mental distress. They admitted that this stress interferes a lot in their daily life activities.

Workers, who suffered the most were poorly educated, young, have low income and Hispanic, according to the study, covered in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

“Given the disproportionate access to paid sick leave based on race, ethnicity and income status, coupled with its relationship to health and mental health, paid sick leave must be viewed as a health disparity as well as a social justice issue,” said study co-author LeaAnne DeRigne, associate professor at School of Social Work, Florida Atlantic University.