STUDY: Valuing Good Health in North Carolina: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days

May 2009
By Kevin Miller, Ph.D., and Claudia Williams, Institute for Women's Policy Research


Policymakers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring that workers have paid sick days. In addition to concerns about workers’ ability to respond to their own health needs, there is growing recognition that, with so many dual-earner and single-parent families, family members’ health needs can be addressed only by workers taking time from their scheduled hours on the job. Paid sick days policies allow workers with contagious illnesses to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers and, thus, are a fundamental public health measure. Paid sick days protect workers from being fired when they are too sick to work and offer substantial savings to employers by reducing turnover and minimizing absenteeism.

North Carolina lawmakers are now considering the Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces Act. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces Act, using government-collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s cost-benefit analysis. The full report will be available on the IWPR website.