This study will assess the public health impact of paid sick leave laws and ordinances on preventing and controlling infectious diseases, specifically foodborne and respiratory illness.
The public health significance of paid sick leave laws and ordinances is their potential to improve access to health care for ill workers, especially low-income workers, who are often forced to make the decision between showing up to work sick, or staying at home and losing pay. An employee who shows up to work while ill with an infectious disease risks passing on the illness to others. These laws and ordinances also address health disparities as workers with lower socioeconomic status and those with poorer health status are more likely to lack access to paid sick days. By studying possible implementation and enforcement measures, leveraging information gathered about enforcement strategies, and understanding differences in the effectiveness of these laws and ordinances on infectious disease rates, future policies can be designed to streamline implementation and include appropriate rewards for compliance and penalties for noncompliance.