Cities and states that require employers to offer paid sick leave benefits experience less severe seasonal influenza outbreaks, according to research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Scientists compared flu infection rates in places with sick leave mandates—New York City, Philadelphia and Seattle, as well as California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts and Oregon—to the rest of the nation. They concluded that flu infections would drop 5% if paid leave was mandated nationwide.
The theory: That paid leave provides enough of an incentive for sick workers to stay home to actually lessen the rate of influenza infection. In 2009, an estimated seven million flu cases were caused by co-workers who came to work even though they were infected.