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Increased Access To Paid Sick Days May Reduce Workplace Flu Cases

New research from the reveals a reduction in flu cases when access to paid is made available in the .

Researchers used an agent-based model to evaluate the transmission patterns of influenza in workplaces under different scenarios. A baseline simulation scenario referred to data from the 2010 and assumed that a larger percentage of employees with access to paid sick days stayed home than did employees without paid sick days – both for an average of 1.7 days when sick. Results were compared to the estimated number of flu cases that might result under two alternative scenarios: (1) a universal paid sick day procedure in which all employees had access to paid sick days; and (2) a “flu days” procedure in which all employees had access to one or two days where they could stay home from work and be paid to recover from the flu.

Results indicated that universal access to paid sick days would reduce flu cases in the workplace by 5.86 percent and a “flu days” intervention would reduce cases by 25.33 percent. The universal paid sick days scenario was estimated to be more effective for small workplaces while the “flu days” would lead to fewer flu cases for larger workplaces. Findings indicated consistently that staying home away from work with the flu related to a reduction in flu cases in the workplace.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people with influenza stay home for 24 hours after their fever has resolved. However, not everyone is able to adhere to these recommendations: 42 percent of workers would not get paid if they stayed home when ill,” the study’s authors explain.


“Policies to reduce influenza in the workplace: Impact assessments using an agent-based model.” Contact: Supriya Kumar, PhD Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.

For more new research on infectious diseases, the following studies may be of interest:

“Longitudinal predictors of HPV vaccination among a national sample of adolescent males,” Paul Reiter, PhD

“Facilitators and barriers to discussing HIV prevention with adolescents: Perspectives of HIV-infected parents,” Laura Edwards, PhD

American Journal of Public Health