Study at NYU Wagner Finds Significant Health Care Impact Among Low-Wage Adults from NYC Paid Sick Leave Requirement

A new study by Dr Hansoo Koo and Sherry Glied published by JAMA has found strong evidence that paid sick leave in New York City was significantly associated with “small but important changes” in health care and preventative services use among low-income adults.

The study looked at data on 552,857 non-elderly Medicaid beneficiaries across New York State and the effect of the city’s mandated sick leave policy, which began in April, 2014. The researchers found reductions in Emergency Department and specialist visits, increases in primary care use, and an increased probability of receiving certain preventative health services.

Dr. Koo is a Post-Doctoral Research Assistant and Adjunct Professor at NYU Wagner. Glied is the graduate school’s Dean and Professor of Public Service.

Nationwide, 68% of low-wage workers were ineligible for paid sick leave in 2019, a situation seen by some as a reason for inappropriate emergency department utilization and reduced use of preventive services. The implementation of a paid sick leave mandate in New York City provided an opportunity to assess that assumption.