Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Paid Sick Leave for Preventive Health Care and Healthy Lives

Woman receives mammogram (3)The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) highlighted some important statistics on the relationship between paid sick leave and preventive health care.

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect in 2010, health care access has opened up to numerous Americans, including low-income earners who were previously uninsured and women seeking preventive care. Unfortunately, too many Americans simply do not have the time to actually receive these services.

More than 40 million workers in the U.S. (39 percent) have no paid sick days and nearly 95 million workers (87 percent) have no paid family leave. 80 percent of low-wage workers earning $15,000 or less per year have no paid sick days.

Work protections such as paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave are crucial for preventive health care, which in turn is key for healthy and safe lives. Routine health checkups and screenings can help prevent or detect early on diseases and other health problems, but a 2015 study found that women without paid sick leave were 12 percent less likely to undergo breast cancer screening than women with paid sick leave.

A similar trend was found with attention to prenatal care. Additionally, about half of Americans who qualify for unpaid job protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) defer or choose to forgo care altogether because the financial cost of taking unpaid time off is too great.

21 jurisdictions have now passed earned sick days laws, but the need for such minimum standards continues.

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