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Inequalities in access to paid sick leave among workers in England and Wales

Patel, Parth; Beale, Sarah; Nguyen, Vincent; Braithwaite, Isobel; Byrne, Thomas E; Erica Fong, Wing Lam; Fragaszy, Ellen; ... Aldridge, Robert W; + view all (2023) Inequalities in access to paid sick leave among workers in England and Wales. The International Journal of Health Planning and Management 10.1002/hpm.3697. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Background: It is poorly understood which workers lack access to sick pay in England and Wales. This evidence gap has been of particular interest in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic given the relationship between presenteeism and infectious disease transmission. // Method: This cross-sectional analysis (n = 8874) was nested within a large community cohort study based across England and Wales (Virus Watch). An online survey in February 2021 asked participants in work if they had access to paid sick leave. We used logistic regression to examine sociodemographic factors associated with lacking access to sick pay. // Results: Only 66% (n = 5864) of participants reported access to sick pay. South Asian workers (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1.40, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06–1.83) and those from Other minority ethnic backgrounds (OR 2.93, 95% CI 1.54–5.59) were more likely to lack access to sick pay compared to White British workers. Older workers (OR range 1.72 [1.53–1.93]–5.26 [4.42–6.26]), workers in low-income households (OR 2.53, 95% CI 2.15–2.98) and those in transport, trade, and service occupations (OR range 2.03 [1.58–2.61]–5.29 [3.67–7.72]) were also more likely to lack access to sick pay compared respectively to workers aged 25–44, those in high income households and managerial occupations. // Discussion: Unwarranted age and ethnic inequalities in sick pay access are suggestive of labour market discrimination. Occupational differences are also cause for concern. Policymakers should consider expanding access to sick pay to mitigate transmission of Covid-19 and other endemic respiratory infections in the community, and in the context of pandemic preparation.

Type: Article
Title: Inequalities in access to paid sick leave among workers in England and Wales
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/hpm.3697
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/hpm.3697
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2023 The Authors. The International Journal of Health Planning and Management published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License,https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: COVID-19; health equity; health policy; public health
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10174988
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