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By Martha C. White
August 24, 2016
Joe Fox—Getty Images

There are lots of arguments for paid sick leave, but this might be one of the most compelling: It could keep you healthy this winter.

A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that when a company offers paid sick leave, the number of employees who get the flu “decreases significantly.” According to the Wall Street Journal, “It also suggests that the absence of paid sick leave causes contagious people to go into work and infect their co-workers or customers.”

The researchers found that when people don’t have paid sick leave, they’ll show up to work while contagious, making it more likely that they’ll pass along their germs to the people with whom they come into contact. Paid sick leave cuts down on workplace transmission, the researchers said. “These findings validate our model predictions and provide evidence that sick and contagious employees stayed at home to recover instead of going to work, thereby reducing contagious presenteeism and decreasing infection rates,” they said.

This has the potential to affect not just a lot of workers, but a lot of consumers. Workers in low-paying jobs are disproportionately likely to be the ones who go without paid sick leave, but they’re also often in service industries like retail or food service, which puts them into contact with a large number of people over the course of a day.

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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