Human Impact Partners conducted an HIA of the federal Healthy Families Act of 2009 and a companion rapid assessment of existing health data relevant to New Jersey. As of 2011, almost 40% of the state’s private sector workers—over 1.2 million New Jersey residents—were not entitled to any paid sick days. At the time of the HIA report’s publication, the federal government and state of New Jersey did not have legislation guaranteeing paid sick leave.
The HIA found that guaranteed paid sick days would significantly benefit public health. By enabling workers to stay home when they or a dependent is sick, paid leave would reduce the spread of pandemic or seasonal flu, reduce emergency room usage, and protect the public from diseases carried by sick workers in restaurants and nursing homes. Paid sick leave could also prevent hunger and housing instability among low-income workers and increase access to preventive and primary care.
This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.