Paid Sick Days in Philadelphia Would Save More Than $10 Million in Health Care Costs

Feb 27, 2013, 11:14 ET from Institute for Women's Policy Research

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to a new analysis by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR), if workers in Philadelphia without paid sick days were to gain access, health care costs would decline by $10.3 million annually.

The analysis finds that not only would paid sick days save taxpayers money, they would improve the workers' health. After controlling for demographic variables and the presence of chronic health conditions, IWPR estimates that access to paid sick days is associated with better self-reported health, a lower likelihood of delayed medical care, and less frequent visits to hospital emergency departments.

Workers with access to paid sick days can take a day off to visit a doctor, which can be a crucial step in preventing a more serious or aggravated illness or injury. Treatment at an emergency department is also typically costlier than a visit to the doctor. Previous IWPR research shows that net cost savings per event treated at a primary care physician rather than at the emergency department is approximately $852.

"Without paid sick days, a person who catches the flu might continue to work, incurring the risk of infecting others as well as worsening their own health," said Barbara Gault, Vice President and Executive Director of the Institute for Women's Policy Research. "It benefits everyone to expand access to paid sick days to all workers."

IWPR's previous analyses of the impact of paid sick days legislation has found reduced health care costs—both public and private—nationally, in the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and in Denver and New York City.

About the Institute for Women's Policy Research
IWPR conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies. IWPR is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation with the women's studies and public policy programs at The George Washington University.

SOURCE Institute for Women's Policy Research