CDC study shows need for paid sick days

The CDC has just released a study on the effects of a week-long H1N1-related elementary school closing on a community in semi-rural Pennsylvania.  The aim of the study was to assess the disruption to households resulting from the school closing; households with students at the school were asked about childcare arrangements and activities for each of the 5 days the school was closed.  The study illustrates the connection between a public health crisis and lost work days.  The direct link to the study is here.

The study found that:

  • As the result of a 1-week (5 day) school closure, 22% of households reported that an adult in the household missed at least 1 day of work.
  • Among the one-fifth of households that reported an adult missing work due to the school closure, 40% reported that an adult missed all 5 days of work.
  • Households with two working parents had a statistically significant higher likelihood than other households to report that an adult missed work to care for a child during the school closure.
  • The study authors conclude, “Households that reported missed work incurred costs, even if those costs were only in terms of lost vacation or sick time.”

Our takeaway is that a significant minority of working parents had to miss work–up to a week of work–because of this public health crisis and, although we do not know how many lacked paid sick days, those who did would have lost wages and possibly risked job loss.

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