1. Rosenberg, Karen


According to this study:


* Workers without paid sick leave are significantly less likely to undergo recommended annual health screenings compared with those who have paid sick leave.


* Lack of paid sick leave is a barrier to accessing health care services, even when preventive screenings are free.



Article Content

Preventive health care services such as flu vaccinations, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, and colonoscopy can prevent illness, allow for early diagnosis and treatment, and save lives. In 2010, preventive health care services were considered important enough that the Affordable Care Act eliminated the cost sharing borne by participants for 15 screenings recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, including those for blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and some cancer screenings. A recent study shows that one of the greatest barriers to using such preventive health care services is not cost but lack of paid sick leave. Unlike 22 other similarly developed countries, the United States doesn't require employers to offer sick leave benefits.


Using data from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey, the researchers examined information from a representative sample of 13,545 adults in regard to paid sick leave and eight preventive health care services: (1) blood pressure check, (2) cholesterol check, (3) fasting test for high blood sugar or diabetes, (4) influenza vaccine, (5) mammogram, (6) Pap test, (7) colon cancer screening, and (8) seeing or talking to a physician or other health care provider. A total of 62.8% of those in the sample had paid sick leave benefits, whereas 37.2% did not.


Those without paid sick leave were significantly less likely to have accessed six of the eight services in the previous year compared with those who had paid sick leave. A lack of paid sick leave, according to the researchers, increased the odds of not having a blood pressure check by 30%, cholesterol screening by 40%, and flu vaccination by 61%. Paid sick leave was not found to be a significant factor in having mammograms or colon cancer screening. However, these two screenings aren't necessarily required for everyone annually, so these findings may not be as relevant.


The researchers conclude that paid sick leave should be regarded as an important public health policy issue, not simply a workplace benefit.-JZ




DeRigne L, et al Prev Med 2017 99 58-62