Paid Sick Leave and Absenteeism: The First Evidence from the U.S.

39 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2016  

Thomas Ahn

University of Kentucky

Aaron Yelowitz

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 1, 2016

Abstract

Using a balanced sample of workers from the NHIS, we estimate of the impact of paid sick leave (PSL) insurance on absenteeism in the United States. PSL increases absenteeism by 1.2 days per year, a large effect given the typical benefit duration. Consistent with moral hazard, the effects are concentrated in moderate sick days, not severe ones. In addition, we merge the NHIS with Google Flu Trends. Severe influenza outbreaks lead workers to exhaust sick days, consequently leading to a replacement rate of zero for additional absences. Consistent with a lower replacement rate, worker absenteeism is reduced on the margin.

Keywords: Paid Sick Leave, Absenteeism, Presenteeism, Moral Hazard, Google Flu Trends

JEL Classification: H51, I18, J22

Suggested Citation

Ahn, Thomas and Yelowitz, Aaron, Paid Sick Leave and Absenteeism: The First Evidence from the U.S. (March 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2740366 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2740366

Thomas Ahn

University of Kentucky ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

Aaron Yelowitz (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

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