Without Paid Sick Leave Workers Less Likely To Get Flu Shots and Preventive Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. LeaAnne DeRigne
Associate Professor
School of Social Work
Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, FL 33431

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: “Compared to 22 similarly developed countries, the United States is the only one that does not mandate employers to provide paid sick leave benefits or include paid sick leave in a universal social insurance plan,” said LeaAnne DeRigne, Ph.D., lead author and an associate professor in the School of Social Work within FAU’s College for Design and Social Inquiry.

For the study, DeRigne and collaborators used cross-sectional data from a sample of 13,545 adults aged 18-64 with current paid employment from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). They examined the relationship between having paid sick leave and obtaining eight preventive care services: blood pressure check; cholesterol check; fasting blood sugar check; getting a flu shot; being seen by a medical doctor or health care provider; getting a Pap test (females only); getting a mammogram (females only); and getting tested for colon cancer. The analysis controlled for demographic and other important predictor variables including gender, marital status, education, race/ethnicity, full time work, insurance coverage, health status, limiting health conditions, family income, age, and family size.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Regardless of sociodemographic factors, the researchers found that workers who lack paid sick leave were significantly less likely to have received preventive health care screenings in the last 12 months, even among those previously told that they have a condition such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease that places them at higher medical risk. They also found that workers without paid sick leave are 1.6 times less likely to have received a flu shot in the past 12 months.

Key findings from the study reveal that American workers without paid sick leave had odds that were:

• 30 percent less likely to have had a blood pressure check in the last 12 months
• 40 percent less likely to have had a cholesterol check in the last 12 months
• 24 percent less likely to have had a fasting blood sugar check in the last 12 months
• 61 percent less likely to have had a flu shot in the last 12 months
• 19 percent less likely to have seen or talked to a physician or health care provider in the last 12 months
• 23 percent less likely to have had a Pap smear in the last 12 months

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: “Our findings demonstrate that even when insured adults are provided with free preventive screenings, paid sick leave is a significant factor associated with actually using the screenings,” said DeRigne. “American workers risk foregoing preventive health care, which could lead to the need for medical care at later stages of disease progression and at a higher cost for workers and the American health care system as a whole.”

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future research could examine health service use in states or municipalities that have passed mandatory paid sick leave legislation.

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L. DeRigne, P. Stoddard-Dare, L. Quinn. Workers Without Paid Sick Leave Less Likely To Take Time Off For Illness Or Injury Compared To Those With Paid Sick Leave. Health Affairs, 2016; 35 (3): 520 DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.0965
Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on March 6, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD