The Effect of Paid Sick Leave Mandates on Labor and Health Outcomes

Publication Date


Grant Type

Early Career Research Award


Along with calls for a national paid sick leave policy, the number of states or municipalities mandating worker paid sick leave have increased dramatically over the past decade. Supporters of the mandates argue that paid sick leave leads to lower job turnover, increased worker productivity, and results in fewer instances of worker absenteeism. In addition, access to paid sick leave may eliminate barriers to the receipt of timely medical care or preventive health services. However, despite these potential benefits of paid sick leave mandates, the unintended consequences of these policies could be significant and have been largely overlooked in both the current debate and in the academic literature. For example, by explicitly reducing the cost of a work absence, paid sick leave may increase the propensity to engage in risky behaviors such as binge drinking. Along with labor market outcomes including absenteeism and job turnover, we propose to study the impacts of recent paid sick leave mandates on worker health and behavioral outcomes including changes in alcohol consumption, tobacco consumption, receipt of preventive care, and the health status of affected workers.

Grant Product

The Effect of Paid Sick Leave Mandates on Access to Paid Leave and Work Absences
Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 16-265, 2016