Funded on October 1, 2017

The U.S. is one of three industrialized countries without universal access to paid sick leave. Thirty-five percent of all full-time employees lack this coverage. Among low-income and part-time employees, uninsurance rates exceed 80 percent. In addition to concerns about inequality, worker well-being, and productivity, a lack of paid sick leave also contributes to the spread of disease, when ill workers are forced to choose between their health and their job.

This study will evaluate the impact of state-level sick pay mandates on coverage rates, other non-mandated fringe benefits, and the spread of infectious diseases. Researchers will focus on Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont—the only states that have mandated paid sick leave, all within the last five years.

Using data from the National Compensation Survey (NCS), Google Flu data, and state-provided data on rates of influenza-like illness (ILI), the researchers will be able to estimate the causal effects of the mandates on coverage rates, non-mandated fringe benefits, and the spread of disease. Because little to nothing is known about the impact of these recently implemented state-level mandates, this project will provide important insights for academics, policymakers and the public.

Related Evidence

  • Published March 1, 2020

    The United States is one of three OECD countries that does not provide universal access to paid sick leave for all employees. Over the past years, just 12 states have passed sick pay mandates. In a new working paper, P4A researcher Nicolas R. Ziebarth of Cornell University and colleagues Catherine Maclean and Stefan Pichler provide first-of-its-kind evidence on how state-level sick pay mandates affect coverage rates, sick leave utilization, and labor costs.

    View Evidence

  • Published October 16, 2018

    To date, sick pay mandates have been implemented in seven states and dozens of cities across the U.S. Nicolas R. Ziebarth of Cornell University and colleague Stefan Pichler of ETH Zurich assess the causal labor market effects of nine city-level and four state-level pay mandates.

    View Evidence

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