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Paid sick leave decrease chances of work injuries in Wisconsin

Due to the recent economic downturn, many business owners are searching for ways to save money on expenses. Initially it may seem like offering employees paid sick leave would increase expenses, however in the long run offering paid sick leave may actually save money, according to a recent study. Although not offering paid sick leave may reduce costs in the short-term, the survey showed that it also increases the chances of work injuries. This could increase costs for Wisconsin businesses due to increased administrative needs and workers' compensation payments.

Offering sick leave could decrease the likelihood of workers being injured on the job by approximately 28 percent. The survey examined 38,000 employees working in various sectors from 2005 to 2008. The study also factored in differences in demographic factors, such as age, gender, and pay rate. The link between injuries and lack of paid sick leave is believed to be the result of employees being more likely to work while sick because they do not want to lose money on their next pay check.

Working while sick can cause employees to be drowsy and less focused, which can be dangerous for those working in riskier professions such as construction and manufacturing. Also, the survey discovered that workers who are offered paid sick leave usually recover from sickness at a quicker pace. They also were found to experience fewer complications resulting from minor workplace injuries.

In addition to offering paid sick leave, there are other ways in which employers in Wisconsin can help to prevent their employees from experiencing work injuries. Employers should ensure compliance with all required safety regulations for their industry. However, if an employee does suffer an injury, he or she may have the option of receiving workers' compensation. Anyone who is facing a workplace injury is well-advised to seek information on any rules or regulations that are in place to prevent such injuries, in an effort to determine whether those measures were properly employed. It is also important that an injured worker educates himself or herself on applicable workers' compensation laws before moving forward with a claim or lawsuit in the matter.

Source: Reuters, "Paid Sick Leave Means Fewer Workplace Injuries," Andrew Lu, August 2, 2012

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