The United States Council of Economic Advisors recently released the “2022 Economic Report of the President.”
LeaAnne DeRigne, Ph.D.
The United States Council of Economic Advisors recently released the “2022 Economic Report of the President,” which includes the Annual Report of the Council of Economic Advisors. Florida Atlantic University’s LeaAnne DeRigne, Ph.D., a professor in the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work within the College of Social Work and Criminal Justice, is cited in chapter 4 of the report, “Investing in People: Education, Workforce Development, and Health,” for her groundbreaking research on paid sick leave benefits.
The report, which includes seven chapters, lays the groundwork to build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out, ensuring growth that benefits all Americans. It discusses policy changes that could expand US economic capacity and allow human capital to be used more productively. Chapter 4 notes that, “Compensation in the form of benefits like paid sick leave or the ability to work remotely can improve employee health and reduce workplace infection.”
Paid sick leave laws enable covered employees to take paid time off for medical care for themselves, a family member, or in some states, a close friend. Currently, there is no federal sick leave law (except for the temporary COVID paid leave law that expired in 2021). Only Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, DC have mandatory paid sick leave laws.
DeRigne’s research on the importance of paid sick leave benefits cited in the 2022 Economic Report of the President, was published in April 2016 in the peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs, which received broad media coverage nationally and internationally. The work has been and continues to be cited around the country by policy makers, lobbyists, and advocates pushing cities and states to mandate sick leave coverage.
“Dr. DeRigne’s research and contributions on paid sick leave benefits are even more critical now as our nation continues to heal from an unprecedented global pandemic,” said Naelys Luna, Ph.D., dean, FAU College of Social Work and Criminal Justice. “That US President Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers specifically cited Dr. DeRigne’s work makes us very proud and shows they recognize the important implications employer-provided paid sick leave benefits have on public health.”
DeRigne’s study was the first to examine the relationship between paid sick leave benefits and delays in medical care and forgone medical care for both working adults and their family members. Key findings, which are representative of the nation, showed that regardless of income, age, race, occupation, full-time or part-time work status, health status or health insurance coverage, workers without paid sick leave were three times more likely to delay medical care than were workers with paid sick leave. They also were three times more likely to forgo needed medical care altogether.
Furthermore, families of workers without paid sick leave were two times more likely to delay medical care and 1.6 times more likely to forgo needed medical care. The lowest-income group of workers without paid sick leave were at the highest risk of delaying and forgoing medical care for themselves and their family members — making the most financially vulnerable workers the least likely to be able to address health care concerns in a timely manner. .
In addition to examining the troubling outcomes for US workers without paid sick leave, DeRigne and her longtime collaborator Patricia Stoddard Dare, Ph.D., professor and director, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Cleveland State University, have explored the impacts of lack of paid sick leave benefits on preventive care such as receiving flu shots, financial stress and worries, mental distress and retirement savings.
“We are very encouraged that our work has been cited in the president’s report and hope that policy makers will consider the potential public health implications of their decisions when contemplating guaranteed sick leave benefits,” said DeRigne. “US workers with paid sick leave are more likely to take time off work to care for themselves or for family when needed. More importantly, it enables workers to ‘self-quarantine’ when necessary, without the worries of losing their job or income while also not spreading illness to others.”
DeRigne and Stoddard Dare are cited on page 151, chapter 4 in the 2022 Economic Report of the President: www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/2022-ERP-Book-wCover-final.pdf.