News Release

Maclean studying paid sick leave mandates & mental health care service use

Grant and Award Announcement

George Mason University

Catherine Maclean, Associate Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government, received $641,155 from the National Institutes of Health for: "Paid Sick Leave Mandates and Mental Healthcare Service Use." 

This project will provide the first causal estimates of the effect of state and local paid sick leave (PSL) mandates on access to PSL among those with mental health disorder(s), use of mental health care, and indicators of potential quality of mental health care received. It will also examine how community-level factors (e.g., mental health care workforce and socioeconomic status) mediate PSL mandate impacts.

Maclean is collaborating with Ezra Golberstein, Associate Professor, Division of Health Policy & Management in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health; Brad Stein, Director, Opioid Policy, Tools, and Information Center (OPTIC), and Senior Physician Policy Researcher at RAND Corporation; and Michael Pesko, Associate Professor, Economics, Georgia State University, on this research. Jessica Mason, Senior Policy Analyst, National Partnership for Women and Families, is serving as a consultant on the project.

The researchers' long-term objective is to assist in optimal design of public health policies that allow employees and their families to receive valuable mental health care and improve mental health.

The immediate objective of their application is to use rigorous quasi-experimental methods (e.g., difference-in-differences methods) and high quality, reproducible data (both insurance claims and survey data) to estimate the causal effect of PSL mandates on: i) access to PSL among employees with mental health disorders; ii) use of mental health care among employees and their dependents (e.g., children and partners); and (iii) indicators for potential quality of mental health care received. 

The researchers will study the extent to which community-level factors (mental health care workforce infrastructure, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status) mediate the causal effect of PSL mandates on their outcomes. Their data sources are IBM Marketscan commercial claims and the National Health Interview Survey. They will perform separate analyses for adults and children, using variation from all state and city PSL mandates through 2022. 

This funding began in March 2023 and will end in Feb. 2027.


About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia's largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 38,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Learn more at

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