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Employee appreciation starts with caring about their health

03 March, 2022

Paid sick leave has become a hot topic since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many people were out of work because they were sick, caring for someone who was sick, or isolating because of the virus. It has remained a hot topic because it has proven to slow the spread of disease and help employees stay healthy.

Advocates for paid sick leave and paid preventive health leave policies believe now’s the time to rethink how companies grant employees time off.

At Nevada Cancer Coalition, we of course advocate for paid time off for illness and mental health respite. We also champion PTO policies for cancer screenings – or preventive health overall – which are proven to improve cancer screening rates.

“This is likely because paid leave alleviates employee concerns about lost wages as a result of taking time to get screened,” wrote researchers from the Public Health and Tobacco Policy Center (PHTPC).

A PTO policy for preventive health care and cancer screenings can also help to reduce many of the health disparities we see in Nevada, and nationwide. In a recent article in the New York Times, reporters found only about half of workers in the bottom quartile of earnings and about one-third in the bottom tenth have any form of paid leave (which may be inclusive of all forms of leave, such as vacation days), as compared to about 95% of the highest earners.

“Those without it are disproportionately people who can’t work from home, like those in service and construction jobs, and who work part time, in nonunion jobs or at small businesses,” the article stated.

We believe that those who make less money shouldn’t have less access to preventive healthcare and cancer screenings, and encourage companies to adopt a PTO policy for both.  

In addition to supporting employees, a PTO policy for preventive healthcare and cancer screening can benefit companies. PHTPC reports the following benefits for employers:

  • A more productive workforce with reduced “presenteeism,” which costs more than absenteeism annually.
  • Lower employee turnover, resulting in lower hiring and training costs.
  • Lower health insurance costs, as well as lower healthcare costs for employees.

We posit that a PTO cancer screening policy can also create healthier employees that feel more supported, potentially increasing overall company morale.

Read more in NCC’s PTO Policy Guide and get other workplace resources here.

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