When money is tight, having a reliable, steady paycheck makes a huge difference. Many people these days don’t have a reliable source of income – either hourly wages are too low to be consistent or multiple jobs are necessary to make ends meet. However, there may be another factor that could be limiting your paycheck: your health. Poor health can have a serious impact on your overall paycheck, depending on your job and circumstances.

Starting Young

Health issues are linked to absenteeism both at work and earlier on in life at school. For those families easily able to afford healthcare, absenteeism due to chronic conditions is usually less of a problem. However, when affording preventive care isn’t realistic, children can end up missing surprising amounts of school time. Even dental health, which often goes overlooked, can have a serious impact.

Children with poor oral health are three times more likely to miss school as a result of dental pain. This certainly isn’t due to voluntarily skipping dentist visits; dentistry is considered one of the 10 most trusted and ethical professions in the United States. Preventive care is expensive, and many families can’t afford regular dental care visits. This precedent starts early and sets people up for issues later on once they join the workforce.

Long-Term Issues

With illness already being a problem during school, it’s only worsened as people enter the workforce. Now, instead of just missing class work or a pop quiz, illness comes with the added issue of financial concerns. In today’s so-called “gig economy,” many people take on multiple jobs with fewer benefits, meaning many are unable to take time off when they’re sick. For those that suffer from chronic issues, this can be seriously damaging. In all US states, one in 25 working-age adults face work limitations they attribute to arthritis. Rather than taking time off for treatment or recovery, people living paycheck-to-paycheck will often work through their conditions for the sake of income. Taking time off can come at a literal cost in the form of a smaller paycheck.

Stressful Cycle

Inability to take off work when necessary keeps people from recovering or seeking treatment for various conditions, and this is inherently stressful. That stress can further compound existing health issues, or lead to entirely new ones. Stress can lead to a variety of health issues, including everything from aches and pains to hair loss. On average, people will shed 50 to 100 hairs a day, but stress can increase the rate of hair loss significantly. While this won’t necessarily won’t lead to more missed work days, it’s still a bad sign for overall health.

Bad For Workers, Bad For Companies

Workers not being able to take time off for illness or medical treatment can create serious problems both for those struggling to manage their health as well as their employers. Not allowing for time off as necessary creates an unhealthy work environment, as well as actually encouraging absenteeism in the workplace. Ultimately, companies lose more money than they save by not offering paid time off, creating just as many issues for employers as for employees. Additionally, this can contribute to a higher turnover rate, further compounding issues.

What To Do?

While it might seem like a difficult situation, there are steps you can take to reduce these issues in your workplace. Work with your supervisor, manager, or another trusted person at your company to find options for taking time off to manage your health. Ultimately, you will be a more reliable employee if you can take the time to recover and get healthy. The process can be difficult, but it’s worthwhile for both your overall stress, health, and income.

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