Paid Sick Leave and Healthcare Utilization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


      The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world with no national policy mandating paid sick leave for workers. This study systematically reviews and quantifies the impact of paid sick leave on the use of healthcare services among employed adults.

      Evidence acquisition

      Articles published from January 2000 to February 2020 were located in MEDLINE/PubMed, SCOPUS, ScienceDirect, and Embase from March/April 2020. Key search terms included paid sick leave and health care utilization. Articles were assessed for methodologic quality, and qualitative and quantitative data were extracted. From the quantitative data, pooled OR, distribution, and heterogeneity statistics were calculated when possible.

      Evidence synthesis

      A total of 12 manuscripts met the criteria for systematic review, and 8 of them had statistics required for meta-analysis. Individuals with paid sick leave had 1.57 (95% CI=1.50, 1.63; p<0.001) odds of having an influenza vaccination, 1.54 (95% CI=1.48, 1.60; p<0.001) odds of having a mammogram, 1.33 (95% CI=1.25, 1.41; p<0.001) odds of seeing a doctor, and 1.29 (95% CI=1.18, 1.39; p<0.001) odds of getting a Pap test compared with individuals without paid sick leave. However, the I2 was relatively high with a significant p-value for most of the services, indicating potential heterogeneity.


      Paid sick leave is likely to be an effective way to increase the use of primary and preventive healthcare services in the U.S. Further studies should be carried out to track outcomes over a longer period and to compare the effect of the number of paid sick days in relation to healthcare utilization.
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