Attending work while sick: Implication of flexible sick leave policies

Matthew D. Rousculp, Stephen S. Johnston, Liisa A. Palmer, Bong Chul Chu, Parthiv J. Mahadevia, Kristin L. Nichol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the impact of various flexible sick leave policies (FSLPs) on workplace attendance of employees with self-reported "severe" influenza-like-illness (ILI) symptoms. Methods: This is a prospective study of employees from three US employers, which involved collection of information on employees' access to FSLPs and monthly experience with ILI and workplace attendance from November 2007 to April 2008. Multivariate analyses were used to estimate the impact of FSLPs on employees' workplace attendance while they were experiencing severe ILI symptoms. Results: Among 793 employees with ILI, the average duration of severe ILI symptoms was 3.0 days. Most employees (71.9%) attended work with severe ILI symptoms, for an average of 1.3 days. Employees who could telework had a 29.7% lower rate of attending work with severe ILI symptoms (P = 0.026). Conclusions: Employers that implement teleworking policies may be able to reduce employee-to-employee transmission of respiratory illness, including seasonal and pandemic influenza.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1009-1013
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by MedImmune LLC.


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