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The Effect of Non-Paid Sick Days on ER Visits

Sick Employee

Employers are constantly looking for more and more ways to reduce costs and improve their bottom line. In order to serve this purpose, sickness and vacation days may sometimes be the first to go.

This may be a practical cut-and-dry approach to reduce the cost of absenteeism among the employee base, but it is likely contributing to the high number of emergency room visits that cost Americans billions of dollars annually.

“Taking time off work to see a primary care doctor is common sense, but over 40 million Americans cannot do so without losing pay or their job,” says Kevin Miller of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). “Americans are paying over $1 billion each year in preventable emergency department costs because hard-working people without paid sick days are unable to get the preventative and early treatment.”

According to the IWPR, access to paid sick days would allow for certain injuries and illnesses to be treated in less expensive doctors’ offices and save Americans $1.1 billion annually. Although the total cost of ER services to Americans is currently hovering around $47 billion, experts agree that this would be a start.

“As high and rising health care expenditures are continuing to be a top concern for policymakers and businesses alike, paid sick days is a cost-saving solution that should receive serious attention,” says Claudia Williams of the IWPR.

As a whole, the IWPR’s report shows that paid sick days are associated with better self-perceived health, more timely care visits, less time spent actually receiving medical care, and fewer visits to the ER.

Furthermore, paid sick days allow employees to visit doctors more easily and act more promptly in addressing health concerns amongst their families.

What is your company doing to ensure its employees can take time off work and address health concerns with their families? Let us know in the comment box below.

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