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What kind of support can sick workers get from their employers?: A study on social protections for sickness in US, Switzerland and Israel

  • Korea Social Policy Review
  • Abbr : KSPR
  • 2019, 26(1), pp.3-33
  • DOI : 10.17000/kspr.26.1.201903.3
  • Publisher : Korean Association of Social Policy
  • Research Area : Social Science > Sociology > Medical / Welfare / Social policy
  • Published : March 31, 2019

김수진 1 Ki-tae Kim 1

1한국보건사회연구원

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Korea is one of four nations without public paid sick leave among the OECD membership. The rest three are the US, Switzerland and Israel. This study compares and analyses how these three states manage the social risks faced by workers who suffer from non-job-related diseases or injuries, aiming at finding policy implications for Korea, which has lack related policies for sick workers. This study examines the two distinct approaches among OECD member states of public paid sick leave (implemented by most of OECD member states) and private sick leave (observed in the US, Switzerland, and Israel). This study in particular focuses on the latter three nations to compare and analyses how they protect sick workers not by public paid sick leave but by state regulation imposed on employers. This study finds that the three nations relieve the social risks undergone by sick workers in indirect ways of enforcing regulations on employers. Switzerland and Israel impose regulations via civil and labour laws respectively, by which employers are obliged to provide paid sick leaves to their sick workers. For example, Swiss workers can get three weeks of paid sick leave during their first year of contract, while Isreaeli workers are eligible for additional 1.5 days of paid sick leave for every one-month workplace experience. The US federal government rules that employers with more than 49 workers should not dismiss their sick workers without regulated conditions. The three nations, albeit without the state-financed paid sick leave, have managed to control the social risks of individual sick workers by implementing regulations on employers. The indirect approach by the three relatively market-oriented states have the two following implications for Korea. First, the right to sick leave for sick workers needs to legislated urgently. Second, the state, as the only OECD state without social protection for sick workers, needs to legislate a regulation for the paid sick leave program sooner than later.

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