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Employment

How to Find a Job Using Social Media?

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Finding a new job, or changing your existing job for career advancement comes with significant challenges. As the pool of aspirants is hugely competitive, recruiters analyze your resume along with your past professional experiences and social presence. So, you’ve to stand out from the crowd to make your dreams come true. Today, a majority of the recruitment agencies and employers are utilizing social media to find the right employee, which means social media plays a crucial role in your job search endeavor.

Social networking sites have become a significant platform to advertise your skills. They empower you to identify job opportunities, establish your social presence, network with people in your niche online and finally, turn those leads into actual job opportunities. Job searching has changed significantly over the last few years. These days, applicants don’t need to wait for the Sunday newspaper to search the job section for ideal opportunities.

It’s a commonly asked question that despite having various online recruitment platforms such as Monster, Recruiter, Ladders that demonstrate almost every kind of job listing and deliver your CV automatically to the recruiters, do you really need to utilize social media to get a new job? Well, according to a study conducted in September 2015 by the Society for Human Resource Management, 19 percent of recruiters hired from Facebook, 57 percent of them hired from LinkedIn while 65 percent of them utilized some mode of social media to recruit. Through this post, we’ll discuss how you can have a fruitful job search by using social media.

1. Build your online presence

When prospective employers Google your name, what would they find? This is something you have to meticulously look at because these days, most recruiters use Google to search the profile of their prospective job candidates to see what comes up. If the search results show some unprofessional posts or pictures, then it’s time to revamp your online image. In the same context, a significant number of job searchers believe that LinkedIn alone can help you find your dream job and lead you to an interview. While this platform is the most useful choice, you simply can’t undermine the significance of Facebook and Twitter.

It’s important to note that employers usually use LinkedIn for assessment of skills and Facebook for your personality evaluation. Thus, it makes sense to update both platforms regularly to attain the best results. However, regardless of the platform you use, make sure to create professional and compelling looking profiles that exhibit your varied skills, job history and the recognition you’ve got. Your profile have to be strong enough to make prospective employers interested at the first glance as then only will they invest further time to explore the rest of your details. If you don’t hold a LinkedIn account, make sure to fill the gap by using your Facebook account completely. Mention your job regularly on Facebook and share the things you’ve accomplished. Remember – if you can’t resist yourself from posting something negative about your job, ensure the privacy settings for those posts aren’t set to public.

2. Optimize your LinkedIn profile

With approximately 400 million global members, LinkedIn has become the largest professional social site across the world. With most of the hiring managers, head-hunters and leading recruiters actively searching for potential candidates on LinkedIn each day, it makes sense to have a solid presence on this site. Your LinkedIn profile is quite similar to writing your online resume. However, the advanced technology aspects of this platform provide you with some other highly useful features such as “Endorsements”. LinkedIn allows you to incorporate personal testimonials. So, ask your friends, manager, colleagues or customers to write a few positive lines about your capabilities on your profile page.

Your first step is to make sure that your profile is impressive, searchable and professional. Regularly update your profile with new skills, tweak the texts for easy reading and include industry buzzwords that employers will be looking for. Remember that the content of your profile shouldn’t just contain your skills but also demonstrate the impact you’ve created on your previous employers so that head-hunters can easily understand the advantage of bringing you on board.

Add a suitable picture to your profile to develop trust with others online. Use a picture that mirrors how you’d look at the workplace and stay away from uploading pictures from casual nights out. Now, start building a professional network by connecting with recruiters, hiring managers and colleagues in your industry. The more connection you have, the more your opportunities will be. So, connect with as many relevant people as you can.

3. Create a professional Facebook profile

Although Facebook is quite an informal medium and mainly used by people to connect with family and friends, it’s being used by various companies too for commercial purposes. Some of them use it to communicate with their customers, staff and the wider audience (to receive their views and comments as well as respond to their feedback etc), while some others use it to vet and recruit potential candidates. Remember that boundaries on Facebook between personal and professional matters are quite blurred, which makes it important to be always aware of what kind of information about yourself can be viewed and by whom.

From a job searcher’s viewpoint, Facebook can be quite useful as you can ask your personal contacts for advice and information about your job search or career and even find valuable information on both organizations and individuals. The informal and interactive nature of this site empowers you to obtain information as well as communicate with prospective employers in a manner that may not be possible elsewhere. Here are some things you can do to optimize your Facebook profile.

  • Professionalize your profile and set the privacy settings the right way
  • Develop your network by joining relevant groups
  • Apply for jobs through the “Facebook Marketplace”
  • Start discussions with organizations and people in your industry

Facebook can be significantly useful for learning about your future employer but you need to be cautious about posting unfiltered comments as that may cost you your career.

4. Connect with potential recruiters on Twitter

 

Although Twitter isn’t a professional networking social media site as such, still there are many ways you can reap the benefits of this platform to find job opportunities and connect with professionals. It’s a platform mainly used by people to exchange and post short messages. It’s used to interact with other organizations or people the users find useful or interesting, including attaching photos or links that users want to share with their respective Twitter community. Businesses utilize Twitter to advocate their expertise, services and attract people to visit their site. When using this platform for your job search, you’ve to be professional. Remember that when you’re trying to grab the attention of prospective recruiters, you must represent yourself in a professional and attractive way.

One major benefit of Twitter is its support for free flowing communication that empowers you to directly talk to potential hiring managers and recruiters without having to submit your resume first. In your job hunting endeavor, a significant percentage of your tweets, re-tweets as well as replies should concentrate on the topics which are relevant to the organizations you wish to work for. It’s also a great platform to listen to what people are talking about your future company.

5. Engage with different people in your domain

Only increasing your visibility and activity on various social media platforms won’t help you much when it comes to finding the right job. Gone are those days when you had to put in a lot of work to ask your friends about their connections and where they work to reach prospective employers. Now, you can simply tap your social media networks to find out all the information you need to find your dream job. This could mean anything from getting introduced to the hiring managers at the organizations you wish to work for, get an insiders’ view about the work culture prevalent in your dream company, or much more.

Today, social media has become your own research laboratory as long as you use it in the right way. There are various ways to leverage the benefits of social media platforms. For instance, on Facebook, “like” the pages of organizations you want to work for and join conversations about current industry trends. Follow the same organizations on Twitter and LinkedIn as well so that you become automatically updated about the new recruits as well as product developments.

Accept follow/connection request from all actual people as you never know how a new connection will help you in your job search. It’s rather difficult to obtain a cold contact’s email address when compared to the chances of finding him/her on social media platforms. So, don’t hesitate to send direct messages to cold contacts on Twitter or invite them to connect on LinkedIn to build your network and give momentum to your job search.

6. Demonstrate your expertise

Most people who use social media hold a “what’s in it for me?” sort of mentality and here’s how you can stand out from your competitors. Help people by providing links to important content, answering their queries etc. If you can regularly connect with people on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, you’ll be able to build your own brand image on these platforms. You can also find the groups where your industry members are present. Join those groups and introduce yourself to other members. And don’t forget the power of blogging.

Writing a post on your industry-relevant topic shows prospective employers that you’re knowledgeable, have a serious and focused outlook, and have strong communication skills. Remember that your tweets, posts and status updates are platforms to exhibit your knowledge on a certain topic and thus demonstrate your expertise.

Attend related events and conferences and post takeaways. In case you don’t have your personal blog or website, you can use LinkedIn Pulse to post your write-ups and receive a significant number of views, comments and likes from people belonging to different verticals. Your never know – your article could be re-posted and you might grab the attention of a prospective hiring manager or recruiter.

7. Follow industry news

There isn’t a single social media platform that alone works the best for all job searchers. The crucial thing is to identify which platforms are mostly utilized by your industry. Try to find out the latest occurrences by joining specialized groups on social media platforms, signing up for newsletters, participating in various discussion forums and following your industry related blogs. These will help you to stay updated about the latest industry trends and information, thus improving your chances to make connections that might result in job leads.

Following organizations on various social media platforms provides you with current news about them, in addition to disclosing the hot topics and trends prevalent in your industry. You need to be updated about these patterns and discuss them in your network so that you can exhibit yourself as an informed professional with an insider’s edge and come across as someone who is up-to-date about the important happenings taking place in your niche or the industry.
All these will help build trust among your network and let you emerge as a dependable name, who may get noted or recommended for vacant job positions. In addition, when you’re writing your resume, LinkedIn profile or cover letter, you should mention jargon from your industry. This becomes particularly advantageous if you’re waiting to be found by recruiters or hiring managers on LinkedIn.

Now that you know how to use social media to your advantage for landing the dream job, go ahead and put these tips to good use to turbo-charge your job search.

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Ben Karter is a senior recruiter for Xist4. He also works as a consultant & trainer for top IT companies. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about and the latest happenings in the tech scene.

          
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Employment

10 Ways to Diversify Your Social Work Income in 2019

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Social Work is not a high-paid profession; we all know this and we didn’t get into this field because we want to become rich. But, if we can’t be comfortable taking care of our own financial commitments, we won’t be in the position to give ourselves fully to our clients when they need us, whether we’re providing case management, intensive counselling/therapy, or community advocacy.

The answer is for Social Workers to diversify their income streams. This is something lawyers, doctors, and other professionals learned years ago but that Social Workers are still struggling with. It sometimes seems antithetical to our mission to make money for ourselves – but there are ways to generate revenue while also providing value to our clients.

With the new year almost upon us, here are 10 ways you can diversify your income in 2019:

1. Open a Private Practice

The classic private practice is still an option. Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) can bill Medicare in all 50 states.  For those who decide not to take insurance or to take self-pay clients, you can often charge north of $100 an hour for counselling or therapy – especially if you have a well-developed niche like working with bereavement, with men or with those who have HIV/AIDS.

To save money when starting out you may choose to use a home office, or even to see clients virtually via Skype. This can make therapy more accessible to your clients, but make sure you check with your licensing board first to avoid any issues with confidentiality.

2. Start Writing

It’s been said we all have a book inside of us, and you may too. But you don’t have to write a full book to make money with your writing. Launching a blog and monetizing it using Google Adsense or the Amazon Affiliate program can help you build your professional brand and demonstrate your expertise while generating you money for every click on your ads.

To get started, you can create a blog using the free WordPress.com platform, and then consider seeking out technical assistance to move your blog to its own domain and hosting to help you expand your audience.

3. Join a Speakers Bureau

A Speakers Bureau is an organization keeping a roster of speakers on contract so you can deliver keynote speeches or other talks for a fee. The Speakers Bureau helps connect the client and the speaker (yourself) together and negotiates a speaking fee you get paid. The Speakers Bureau takes a cut in exchange for the representation and you get the promotion.

If you don’t have the popularity, name recognition, or specific niche skills to join a Speakers Bureau yet, do some networking and reach out to conferences and other organizations proactively to get yourself some initial speaking engagements. If you’re lucky, some new business will come via word-of-mouth.

4. Create Mobile Phone Apps

This is the most technical of the answers here – but surprisingly not as difficult as you might think. Social Workers have a wealth of knowledge on mental health which they can apply towards creating apps that don’t exist yet to help people.

These can be targeted at professionals in the field, for example:

  • An app allowing you to complete risk assessments on a tablet and allows the information to be exported
  • A Social Worker’s Legal Reference with information on the laws relevant to child protection, suicide intervention and other laws relevant to Social Work in your state
  • A digital study guide helping social workers in training prepare for their licensure exam

Or targeted at clients:

  • A guided meditation app which helps clients calm down when they feel stressed
  • A digital crisis plan clients can complete and then refer to when they’re having trouble coping
  • A guide to local resources in your community like crisis lines, mental health agencies, and hospitals

These are highly complex topics. You can read up on the Swift programming language (used for Apple devices) or the Java programming language (for Android devices) or join up with a skilled programmer who lacks your specialized mental health knowledge.

5. Develop a Subscription Service

A subscription service is one way to help current or future clients to receive support. By paying you a small monthly fee, they can get check-ins with you on a regular basis between appointments. If they’re struggling, you can help connect them to crisis lines or other supports. For people who haven’t yet become clients, this may offer them an opportunity to build a relationship with you as they consider whether to book an appointment.

6. Launch an Online Course

Social Workers have skills in many areas which they can turn into online courses to teach others. For example, successful online courses have been launched teaching people how to have better relationships with their spouses or children, how to avoid getting angry or upset, and how to stay cool under pressure in a challenging workplace.

Providers like Udemy can help you build your course in exchange for a small fee taken out of each purchase.

7. Teach at Night

Universities and colleges frequently hire Masters or Doctoral-level Social Workers to teach classes as an Adjunct Professor. This can help you generate revenue but also to give back to the next generation and share what you’ve learned during the course of your practice.

8. Train Other Professionals

In addition to teaching in a school environment, you can make money by becoming an instructor for training programs. For $500 you can get certified to teach the Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Gatekeeper Course in suicide, while for $2,500 you can get Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) Training-for-Trainers (T4T) certified.

As a trainer, you can make between several hundred and several thousand dollars in a weekend leading a training course on a subject which you’re passionate about.

9. Become a Consultant

If you have an area of specialized knowledge such as program evaluation, fundraising, or experience building a nonprofit from the ground up then you may choose to become a nonprofit consultant. By helping clients avoid the same pitfalls you may have experienced yourself, you give them a great return on their investment.

Consultants also facilitate Strategic Planning sessions or Board of Directors Training and this may be an option for yourself as well.

10. Build a Video Library

If you don’t like to write but you do want to get your message out there – consider building a video library on YouTube. These videos, when you have a high-enough following, can be monetized and you’ll get ad revenue before each video plays.

Conclusion

There are a lot of ways Social Workers and other helping professions can use their experience and training to help others while also diversifying your own revenue and helping to build your personal brand. It’s important that you focus on the elements that make the most sense for your passions and level of technical expertise but also which makes sense with your desired client-base. Good luck!

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Employment

Why Efforts to Hire and Maintain the Best Staff Can Be Critical for Nonprofits

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While a well-seasoned and dedicated staff can be a terrific resource for any business, hiring the right professional to fill a position can be an even more important concern for nonprofits. Lacking the funds and additional resources of their commercial counterparts and competitors can place many nonprofits at a distinct disadvantage. By addressing the issues and specific problems that those employed by a nonprofit are most likely to encounter, employers may be able to minimize turnover and transform their existing staff into their greatest asset. Drive, Dedication and Vision Professionals whose ambition only extends to themselves can a major liability for nonprofits. Without the need to build value for their shareholders, nonprofit organizations must rely on their staff to provide them with the vision and drive they need to be effective. Pairing workers who are dedicated to an idea that is greater than themselves with an organization able to provide them with the agency needed to make a difference can be of paramount importance, especially for nonprofits who have suffered from lackluster performance or that may have begun to stagnate. Generating Momentum and Inertia Internally

Employees, workers and professional associates who are able to generate the momentum needed to enact real and lasting change are often the heart of any successful nonprofit. The conventional business models that are so often utilized by commercial businesses place often place the bulk of their focus on the mid and upper-level managers and supervisors who are tasked with creating and implementing new policies. Nonprofits stand to benefit by shifting their focus to the workers who do the actual heavy lifting and who take on the more mundane day to day tasks. Dedicated workers can provide their employers and organizations with the momentum and inertia they need in order to continue operating effectively.

Going the Extra Mile Finding employees who are willing to go the extra mile can be a difficult proposition for any organization that lacks the funds and financial resources needed to provide a more competitive salary. Individuals who are committed to reaching loftier goals or unlocking their full professional for reasons that extend beyond mere financial reward are not a resource that nonprofits can afford to take lightly. A little extra effort is often the missing component when it comes to finding solutions to a stubborn problem or overcoming an obstacle that might otherwise end up limiting other opportunities and future success. Workers who are determined to keep their organization going and employers who need their employees to give it their all both need to understand the value of going the extra mile. Optimizing Existing Resources Having to make due with shortages of finances and other key resources is often a concern that is all too familiar to many nonprofit organizations. While boosting efficiency and finding ways to curb waste can help commercial organizations to enjoy greater profitability, such efforts are often essential for ensuring the very survival of a nonprofit. Whether it’s finding the best accounting software for nonprofits in order to ensure more accurate bookkeeping or identifying the ways in which financial resources may be best utilized, making the most of their existing resources is a concern that organizations would do well to prioritize. Long-term Success Begins During the Hiring Process A nonprofit is only as good as its employees and being able to identify the right fit or a good match often means a great deal. For employers, educating prospective employees and applicants regarding the nature of nonprofit work is often a smart move. Applicants, candidates and even unpaid volunteers who wish to see their organization succeed need to recognize that their passion, aspiration and drive can often be just as important as any skills or expertise they may bring to the table. Cultivating the right staff and making the most out of their existing employees can allow organizations to more easily overcome the obstacles created due to limited funds and resource scarcity.
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Networking – The Best Way to Keep Learning on the Job

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Like most comms professionals, I have a curiosity about learning. Be it about the latest craze on social media, or the newest news platform that I could try and get my organisation into.

I have been fairly diligent about keeping my skills set up-to-date. Regularly attending industry training courses, as well as embarking on a post-grad a few years back while juggling the demands of a busy role.

What’s struck me, however, is that the most profound learning comes from something far less slick than formal qualifications and training sessions, and that’s networking with our peers.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked across a number of sectors having moved from the arts, to education, to health, back to education, and then back to health – you get the theme – and now into the children’s sector now into the children’s sector where I work as Communications Manager at CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland).

With each move, I’ve managed to make connections with my counterparts at other organisations. By regularly keeping in touch with them, occasionally meeting up for a coffee, you can gain so much knowledge from each other by comparing notes, woes, and inspirations all in a oner. It really is cathartic. I would urge anyone to get to know their equivalent elsewhere, you never know when you might need them.

In the earlier stages of my career, I established a useful working relationship with a colleague at another institution. Given the supposed ‘rivalry’ between the institutions we worked for (I’m not naming names!) we had to use judgment and discretion when it came to information sharing. There was a real value to us being able to use each other as a sounding board for managing difficult media requests. On one funny occasion, we both spoke to each other mobile to mobile from our respective toilets!

Peer-to-peer learning comes in many forms and guises. An occasional and irregular meeting to talk shop, can lead to bigger plans for shared learning.

From Networking to Communities of Practice

I moved into a job promoting a brand new museum and gallery in central London some years back. Having attended a meeting on Southbank of arts PRs, I was vocal about the need to develop something a little more formal for us to keep abreast of what was happening in our tiny sector of comms professionals. What emerged from this was a working group of budding volunteers, and the establishment of a national conference where like-minded colleagues from throughout the country got together to learn from each other, and hear insights from those at the top of our industry.

What we didn’t realise at the time of its formation was that we really were a Community of Practice in the making (NB ‘Community of Practice’ is the slightly more academic/formal term for networking with peers.

New Year’s Resolution

One of my new year’s resolutions for 2018 is to help keep a network of comms professionals going in the children’s sector in Scotland. We are a varied bunch – from third sector organisations and campaign groups, to academic centres, NGOs and colleagues working in government – but we have much in common: our values as organisations; keeping our comms relevant to our intended audiences; and the need to embrace new and emerging technology.

Anyone wanting to know more, do be in touch.

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Employment

Transformational Leadership in the Context of Social Work

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Social work leadership has transformed into actual practice from research. While the primary definition of transformational leadership remains the same, researchers and experts believe its practical implications show more promising and better results – especially in the context of social work.

Leaders who work in close collaboration with their subordinates to achieve a common goal is what transformational leadership is all about. However, when it comes to its implications, a real transformational leader possesses specific behaviors and traits beyond that definition. He or she is someone who does not only work with the team but also motivates and inspires an organization to work towards a shared vision.

For a leader to do that, he or she must have the inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, body language, and individual consideration for the society as a whole. When it comes to social work, the vision does not only limit to the group members but people beyond that.

For all these reasons, transformation leadership remains an imperative factor for the success at individual, organizational, and societal levels.

Traits of Transformation Leadership That Are Important in Context of Social Work

Social work in itself is a transformed organization. The way social campaigns are led has changed substantially with regards to how leaders should act. The effort and contribution of transformational leaders help in creating a work environment where the team members are committed to what they are assigned. Leaders support interactions to ensure providing stability to the employees and other team members working in favor of the organization.

Here are the top transformational leadership traits that give social work its best form.

Development and Growth on an Individual Level

The best leadership traits are those that help an individual with self-actualization. Referring to the hierarchy of needs by Abraham Maslow, self-actualization stands at the top of the pyramid because it enables an individual to see beyond their self-interest and work in favor of the people around.

This helps transformational leaders to work selflessly with the values and vision of the team as a whole, including the society. It’s the growth factor that facilitates him/her for this moral development and principles.

Improved Performance

Transformational leaders have subordinates and team members who perform beyond expectations. Research reveals that organizations, where transformational leaders are utilized, have better outcomes than planned.

The sense of trust and sustainability from the authority is a useful motivational factor that influences team members to outperform themselves every time. As a result, the overall performance of the organization and its contribution towards the shared vision also improves.

Organizational Change and Development

While transformational leadership has a clearly defined structure, it has an impact on every level of the organization. When it comes to team motivation, it helps the member become more inspiring, stimulating, and caring especially concerning their learning and working environment.

In short, it won’t be an exaggeration to state that transformational leadership has a ‘falling dominos effect’ on each department and the entire organization. While at authority level it helps with setting the vision and direction of the organization, at employee levels, it sets out the outlines for operations.

The phenomenon helps the company meet new challenges and perform better than expectations.

The Application is wider than Social Work

Society is and will always remain one of the most crucial areas where transformational leadership plays its role. However, the overall implication of the idea is much broader than that.

A variety of settings can benefit from the positive traits and behaviors of transformational leadership. Whether it is health care, nursing, education, or finance, the idea has proved more effective than any other form of leaderships. In addition to social work, it can also be applied to industrial and militaristic settings.

Conclusion

Since transformational leadership encourages the values of the people around, it plays a vital role in areas like social justice, equity, personal empowerment, self-knowledge, service, citizenship, and collaboration. This phenomenon can completely reshape the goals and how teams and organizations work and can also be used in conjunction with other leadership styles for better outcomes.

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Employment

Abusive Bosses Experience Short-Lived Benefits

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Being a jerk to your employees may actually improve your well-being, but only for a short while, suggests new research on abusive bosses co-authored by a Michigan State University business scholar.

Bullying and belittling employees starts to take its toll on a supervisor’s mental state after about a week, according to the study, which is published in the Academy of Management Journal.

“The moral of the story is that although abuse may be helpful and even mentally restorative for supervisors in the short-term, over the long haul it will come back to haunt them,” said Russell Johnson, MSU associate professor of management and an expert on workplace psychology.

While numerous studies have documented the negative effects of abusive supervision, some bosses nevertheless still act like jerks, meaning there must be some sort of benefit or reinforcement for them, Johnson said.

Indeed, the researchers found that supervisors who were abusive felt a sense of recovery because their boorish behavior helped replenish their mental energy and resources. Johnson said it requires mental effort to suppress abusive behavior – which can lead to mental fatigue – but supervisors who act on that impulse “save” the mental energy that would otherwise have been depleted by refraining from abuse.

Johnson and colleagues conducted multiple field and experiments on abusive bosses in the United States and China, verifying the results were not culture-specific. They collected daily survey data over a four-week period and studied workers and supervisors in a variety of industries including manufacturing, service and education.

The benefits of abusive supervision appeared to be short-lived, lasting a week or less. After that, abusive supervisors started to experience decreased trust, support and productivity from employees – and these are critical resources for the bosses’ recovery and engagement.

According to the study, although workers may not immediately confront their bosses following abusive behavior, over time they react in negative ways, such as engaging in counterproductive and aggressive behaviors and even quitting.

To prevent abusive behavior, the researchers suggest supervisors take well-timed breaks, reduce their workloads and communicate more with their employees. Communicating with workers may help supervisors by releasing negative emotions through sharing, receiving social support and gaining relational energy from their coworkers.

Co-authors are Xin Qin from Sun Yat-sen University, Mingpeng Huang from the University of International Business and Economics, Qiongjing Hu from Peking University and Dong Ju from Communication University of China.

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Insult to Injury: U.S. Workers Without Paid Sick Leave Suffer from Mental Distress

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Only seven states in the United States have mandatory paid sick leave laws; yet, fifteen states have passed preemptive legislation prohibiting localities from passing sick leave. Despite this resistance, paid sick leave is starting to gain momentum as a social justice issue with important implications for health and wellness. But what are the implications for the mental well-being of Americans without paid sick leave? Little was known about their relationship until now.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University and Cleveland State University are the first to explore the link between psychological distress and paid sick leave among U.S. workers ages 18-64. Results of their study, published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, illuminate the effects of exacerbated stress on Americans without paid sick leave who are unable to care for themselves or their loved ones without fear of losing wages or their jobs.

The researchers found that workers without paid sick leave benefits reported a statistically significant higher level of psychological distress. They also are 1.45 times more likely to report that their distress symptoms interfere “a lot” with their daily life and activities compared to workers with paid sick leave. Those most vulnerable: young, Hispanic, low-income and poorly educated populations.

“Given the disproportionate access to paid sick leave based on race, ethnicity and income status, coupled with its relationship to health and mental health, paid sick leave must be viewed as a health disparity as well as a social justice issue,” said LeaAnne DeRigne, Ph.D., co-author of the study and an associate professor in the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work within FAU’s College for Design and Social Inquiry. “Even modest increases in psychological distress are noteworthy for both researchers and policy makers since we know that even small increases in stress can impact health.”

The study included 17,897 respondents from the National Health Interview Survey(NHIS), administered by the U.S. government since 1957 to examine a nationally representative sample of U.S. households about health and sociodemographic variables.

“For many Americans, daily life itself can be a source of stress as they struggle to manage numerous responsibilities including health related issues,” said Patricia Stoddard-Dare, Ph.D., lead author of the study and associate professor of social work at Cleveland State University. “Making matters worse, for those who lack paid sick leave, a day away from work can mean lost wages or even fear of losing one’s job. These stressors combined with other sources of stress have the potential to interfere with workplace performance and impact overall mental health.”

The researchers used the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6), considered the gold standard for assessing psychological distress in population-based samples in the U.S. and internationally. With a theoretical range of 0 to 24, higher scores on the K6 represent increased psychological distress and scores above 13 are correlated with having a mental disorder of some type.

Results from the study showed that those with paid sick leave had a lower mean distress score compared to those without paid sick leave, who had significantly higher K6 scores, indicating a higher level of psychological distress. Only 1.4 percent of those with paid sick leave had a K6 score above 12 compared to 3.1 percent of the respondents without paid sick leave.

The most significant control variables indicated an increase in the expected psychological distress score among those who were younger, female, in fair or poor personal health, had at least one chronic health condition, were current smokers or did not average the recommended range of seven to nine hours of sleep per day.

Approximately 40 percent of respondents in the NHIS sample did not have paid sick leave; approximately half of the respondents were female; more than half were married or cohabitating; three-quarters indicated that their highest level of education included at least some college; and 62 percent were non-Hispanic white. The mean age was 41.2 years. Most of the respondents (79.1 percent) worked full-time and 82.7 percent had health insurance coverage. Respondents were in families with a mean size of 2.6 persons and 39.3 percent reported having children in the family. Approximately 32 percent had an annual family income of $35,000 to $50,000, and more than one quarter were below the poverty threshold.

DeRigne and Stoddard-Dare caution that even though there is concern about the potential burden on employers if paid sick leave laws are passed, it is important to be mindful of the overall situation regarding productivity loss and workplace costs associated with mental health symptoms and psychological concerns among U.S. workers. Furthermore, the personal health care consequences of delaying or forgoing needed medical care can lead to more complicated and expensive health conditions. U.S. workers with paid sick leave are more likely to take time off work and self-quarantine when necessary, without the worries of losing their job or income while also not spreading illness to others.

“Results from our research will help employers as they think about strategies to reduce psychological stress in their employees such as implementing or expanding access to paid sick days,” said Stoddard-Dare. “Clinicians also can use these findings to help their patients and clients as can legislators who are actively evaluating the value of mandating paid sick leave.”

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