Paid sick leave and absenteeism: The first evidence from the U.S

Monday, June 13, 2016: 9:10 AM
G50 (Huntsman Hall)

Author(s): Aaron Yelowitz; Tom Ahn

Discussant: Lauren Hersch Nicholas

Paid sick leave (PSL) in the United States has recently received a flurry of attention at the federal, state, and local levels. Several large cities and states have recently mandated that firms offer PSL to employees and PSL campaigns were active in 22 states in 2014. Our study examines the impact of paid sick leave on employee absenteeism in the U.S., where PSL is typically less generous than in Europe. Moral hazard exists, and workers do respond to PSL by taking significantly more sick days. Being offered sickness insurance (in the range typically faced by U.S. workers – about 7 paid days per year) results in about 1.2 extra days of absenteeism; the results that are in line with those found in the European studies.