Menu

Association of Paid Sick Leave Laws With Foodborne Illness Rates

This mixed-methods study examined whether laws requiring employers to provide paid sick leave (PSL) are associated with decreased foodborne illness rates, particularly laws that are more supportive
of employees taking leave.

  • Charleen Hsuan, JD, PhD, Kat DeBurgh, MPH,Dawn M. Jacobson, MD, MPH
An image for Association of Paid Sick Leave Laws With Foodborne Illness Rates
Introduction
Previous studies suggest an association between paid sick leave (PSL) and better population health, including fewer infectious and nosocomial gastrointestinal disease outbreaks. Yet few studies examine whether laws requiring employers to offer PSL demonstrate a similar association. This mixed-methods study examined whether laws requiring employers to provide PSL are associated with decreased foodborne illness rates, particularly laws that are more supportive of employees taking leave.
Methods
The four earliest PSL laws were classified by whether they were more or less supportive of employees taking leave. Jurisdictions with PSL were matched to comparison jurisdictions by population size and density. Using difference-in-differences, monthly foodborne illness rates (2000–2014) in implementation and comparison jurisdictions before and after the laws were effective were compared, stratifying by how supportive the laws were of employees taking leave, and then by disease. The empirical analysis was conducted from 2015–2017.
Results
Foodborne illness rates declined after implementation of the PSL law in jurisdictions with laws more supportive of employees taking leave, but increased in jurisdictions with laws that are less supportive. In adjusted analyses, PSL laws that were more supportive of employees taking sick leave were associated with an adjusted 22% decrease in foodborne illness rates (p¼0.005). These results are driven by campylobacteriosis.
Conclusions
Although the results suggest an association between more supportive PSL laws and decreased foodborne illness rates, they should be interpreted cautiously because the trend is driven by campylobacteriosis, which has low person-to-person transmission.

Originally published by American Journal of Preventive Medicine


Work With Us

You change the world. We do the rest. Explore fiscal sponsorship at PHI.

Bring Your Work to PHI

Support Us

Together, we can accelerate our response to public health’s most critical issues.

Donate

Find Employment

Begin your career at the Public Health Institute.

See Jobs

closeup image of coronavirus

Close

COVID-19 Resources and Updates

The Public Health Institute is working hard to focus our resources and expertise to address COVID-19 and its impacts on our communities. We are getting masks and PPE directly to frontline workers, bolstering efforts to address inequities, and coming up with solutions to support our most vulnerable communities.

See our work

Continue to PHI.org