MUNCIE — As the number of cases of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus continue to climb and workers ponder whether to stay home when they are sick, one researcher said companies may actually benefit from more lenient sick time policies.
Erik Nesson, an economics professor at Ball State University, said he's been looking into the issue. His research has focused on how viruses like COVID-19 and the flu spread throughout the workplace and he said companies that are lenient with sick time and paid time off might save money in the long run.
"More paid time off for employees might actually be better for the company's bottom line because if one employee doesn't come to work when they're sick then they might not spread the illness to a lot of other employees," Nesson said.
Nesson said workplaces are very conducive to the spread of viruses like the flu and COVID-19 because they have a lot of commonly touched surfaces and a lot of poeple are often in the same space together.
"If more people are at work, more kids are in daycare and daycare and school is also very conducive to the spread of illnesses," Nesson said.
Nesson said the study has shown that if employment goes up in one state then the next month there are higher-than-expected increase in the prevalence of the flu.
"If more workers had the ability to take time off without impacting their finances as much then our research suggests that that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the flu as well," Nesson said.