LeaAnne DeRigne earned her Ph.D. and MSW in social work from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, as well as a B.S. degree is in psychology from Missouri State University. She taught as a visiting professor from 2006-2008 at the University of Missouri-St. Louis after completion of her Ph.D. in 2006. She worked as a lobbyist and policy analyst in Washington, DC and the Missouri State Capitol for five years following completion of her MSW.
DeRigne is an expert on paid sick leave and its impact on the health and financial security of individuals, families and public health in general. Her recent research on the importance of paid sick leave benefits has received wide press coverage, and has been cited around the country by policy makers, lobbyists, and advocates pushing cities and states to mandate sick leave coverage. Key findings from the study, which are representative of the nation, showed that regardless of income, age, race, occupation, full-time or part-time work status, health status or health insurance coverage, workers without paid sick leave were three times more likely to delay medical care than were workers with paid sick leave.
She also conducts research on other workplace benefits such as flexible work, vacation time and pensions.
Areas of Expertise (6)
Health Care Policy
Labor Market Participation
Washington University in St. Louis: Ph.D., Social Policy and Social Work 2006
Washington University in St. Louis: MSW, Social Work 2000
Missouri State University: B.S., Psychology and Sociology 1995
Selected Media Appearances (10)
Thousands of laid off workers are shut out of Florida’s meager unemployment system
Derigne teaches social policy, specializing in pensions, sick leave and vacation time. She has no doubt that the state lacks the employees to handle the flood of unemployment claims. “We didn’t anticipate this, so it’s not like the state of Florida was able to ramp up,” she said. “In a normal unemployment cycle they don’t experience the backlog.”
Coronavirus: Paid sick leave emerges as hot issue
Palm Beach Post
“There’s really no way for them to stay home without putting their jobs in jeopardy,” said LeaAnne DeRigne, an associate professor in Florida Atlantic University’s School of Social Work.
Coronavirus Hits America Where It’s Weakest With Big Health Gaps
The wider problem the U.S. faces right now, according to LeaAnne DeRigne, an associate professor at Florida Atlantic University who focuses on health-care policy, is that so many people have no paid sick leave at all. It’s “definitely a public health crisis,” she said. “It really does exacerbate a pandemic and all but guarantees that the people rolling your burritos and taking your blood at a lab might be doing it while they’re sick.”
U.S. workers need paid sick leave to stop the spread of coronavirus
Medical Xpress online
"Now is the time to consider the importance of having access to guaranteed paid sick days in public health epidemics," said LeaAnne DeRigne, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work within FAU's College for Design and Social Inquiry.
Coronavirus may completely change how America approaches time off from work
“For Americans who are working without paid sick leave, a day lost can translate into lost wages or even place their employment in jeopardy. This contributes to the shaky financial situation in which many families already find themselves,” comments the author of that study, LeaAnne DeRigne, Ph.D., an associate professor at FAU...
Hospitality group says city rushing implementation of sick leave policy passed by council in 2015
LeaAnne DeRigne, an association professor of social work who specializes in health policy at Florida Atlantic University, said Pittsburgh’s new policy has positive public health implications for the city. That’s because when people don’t have paid sick leave, they’re more likely to go to work while injured or ill. “There were some pretty famous cases, especially in the restaurant industry, where people were coming to work when they had the flu, and-or a gastrointestinal virus that they were then passing on to their customers,” said DeRigne. “Chipotle probably got the most media attention," she said, referring to an outbreak of Norovirus at a Virginia restaurant in 2017...
Paid sick leave and flextime benefits result in significantly more retirement savings
"These findings appear to point to a relationship between having sick days and flexible work options to increased retirement savings, which might mean that workers are able to stay attached to work and retirement savings programs regardless of personal or family health issues when time away from work is needed," said LeaAnne DeRigne, Ph.D., co-author and an associate professor in the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work within FAU's College for Design and Social Inquiry. "When employees have access to sick leave they don't have to put their jobs in jeopardy to manage a health care crisis."...
Workers without paid sick leave endure significant financial worries
"For Americans who are working without paid sick leave, a day lost can translate into lost wages or even place their employment in jeopardy. This contributes to the shaky financial situation in which many families already find themselves," said LeaAnne DeRigne, Ph.D., senior author and an associate professor of FAU's Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work within the College for Design and Social Inquiry. "Given worry's known relationship to health, mental health, and employment productivity, findings from our latest study are really disconcerting."...
Employee takes sick leave for mental health, CEO’s response is refreshingly rare
As LeaAnne DeRigne, associate professor of social work at Florida Atlantic University, once told the BBC: "No one's allowed to be sick. Sickness is weakness."...
Why Americans don't take sick days
"No one's allowed to be sick. Sickness is weakness," says LeaAnne DeRigne, associate professor of social work at Florida Atlantic University. "The attitude is 'I'm irreplaceable - if I don't show up, my job won't get done.' Some of it is also concern about how you are going to be viewed as an employee - whether you can be counted on or not. Whether by having too many sick days, too many absences, you are not seen as reliable."...
Selected Articles (5)
Workers without paid sick leave less likely to take time off for illness or injury compared to those with paid sick leaveHealth Affairs
LeaAnne DeRigne, Patricia Stoddard-Dare, Linda Quinn
2016 Paid sick leave is an important employer-provided benefit that helps people obtain health care for themselves and their dependents. But paid sick leave is not universally available to US workers. Little is known about paid sick leave and its relationship to health behaviors. Contrary to public health goals to reduce the spread of illness, our findings indicate that in 2013 both full- and part-time working adults without paid sick leave were more likely than workers with that benefit to attend work when ill. Those without paid sick leave were 3.0 times more likely to forgo medical care for themselves and 1.6 times more likely to forgo medical care for their family compared to working adults with paid sick leave benefits. Moreover, the lowest-income group of workers without paid sick leave were at the highest risk of delaying and forgoing medical care for themselves and their family members. Policy makers should consider the potential public health implications of their decisions when contemplating guaranteed sick leave benefits.
The employment and financial effects on families raising children with special health care needs: An examination of the evidenceJournal of Pediatric Health Care
2012 Over 10 million children in the United States have special health care needs (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2008). Parents struggle to afford needed health care and wrestle with the dual responsibilities of caregiving and employment. Researchers from a variety of disciplines, health care, and social science, in particular, are analyzing what variables affect a family’s ability to access needed health care while balancing work and caregiving.
Employment change and the role of the medical home for married and single-mother families with children with special health care needsSocial Science & Medicine
LeaAnne DeRigne, Shirley Porterfield
2010 One in five U.S. households with children has at least one child with a special health care need (USDHHS, 2004). Like most parents, those with children with special health care needs struggle to balance child-rearing responsibilities with employment demands. This research examines factors affecting married parents' and single-mother's employment change decisions focusing specifically on whether having a medical home influences these decisions. This study includes 38,569 children with special health care needs from birth through age 17 surveyed in the 2005–2006 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs. The employment model is estimated using multinomial logistic regression with the choice of a parent to maintain their current level of employment, reduce work hours, or stop working as the dependent variable. Independent variables are those characterizing the needs of the child, the resources of the family, and the socio-demographic characteristics of the family. Components of the medical home variable include: 1) having a usual source of care; 2) care provided is “family centered”; 3) receipt of care coordination services; and 4) receipt of needed referrals. Half of the children in our sample met criteria in all four facets. If the child has a medical home, the relative risk of a parent choosing to cut hours rather than not change hours decreases by 51%. The relative risk of choosing to stop working rather than not change hours decreases by an estimated 64%. Care coordination services significantly reduce the odds of changing employment status. Our results suggest that the medical home is a moderating factor in parental decisions concerning change in employment status.
Medical home and out-of-pocket medical costs for children with special health care needsPediatrics
Shirley L Porterfield, LeaAnne DeRigne
2011 We examined key factors that affect out-of-pocket medical expenditures per $1000 of household income for children with special health care needs (CSHCN) with a broad range of conditions, controlling for insurance type and concentrating on the potentially moderating role of the medical home.
The influence of health insurance on parent’s reports of children’s unmet mental health needsMaternal and Child Health Journal
LeaAnne DeRigne, Shirley Porterfield, Stacie Metz
2009 The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of unmet mental health needs in children identified by parents as having long-term emotional and behavioral problems, to identify the characteristics of these children, and to evaluate the influence of health insurance status and type on the odds of reporting unmet mental health needs.