About half of the U.S. workforce (nearly 60 million workers) does not have paid sick days, according to recent surveys, and the numbers keep increasing as employers look to cut overhead.

In 2002, 60 percent of non-managerial and nonprofessional workers got paid sick days, compared to 67 percent in 1997. Unpaid sick days are more common in low-wage occupations: Between 25 and 47 percent of low-wage workers get paid sick days, compared to 70 to 84 percent of high-wage workers, according to The Boston Globe.

There's a downside to this benefits-cutting: According to a Cornell University study, sick people who go to work cost business $225 per worker per year, due to lost productivity. Also worth noting is that poor performance may occur not only the days when a worker is sick. Lack of adequate rest and recovery time may result in increased fatigue and low productivity dragging longer, according to Circadian Technologies.

Circadian data show that higher fatigue levels are related to higher workers’ compensation costs.