This may take some of the shine off of the best day of the week: payday.
People are more likely to meet their maker on the day “the man” cuts them a check.
A study entitled “Income Receipt and Mortality: Evidence from Swedish Public Sector Employees,” by The Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn Germany found that mortality on the day employees get paid increases 23%.
Those examined in the study were Sweden’s public sector employees, a group that represents 22% of the nation’s workforce.
The rise in mortality on paydays was limited entirely to low income individuals, who are more likely to be under financial stress and have their behaviors changed on payday. Still, the effect on the low earners was so large it significantly swayed the overall mortality rate figures among public sector workers.
The rise in mortality was especially pronounced among young workers — those age 18 to 35 — within that group. The mortality rate among those individuals rises 164% on payday, according to the study.
Not drug or alcohol related
The first thought that likely popped into your head: Younger workers are spending their money on drugs or alcohol, which is what’s causing the rise in mortality.
Not so, according to the authors of the study.
The rise in deaths was attributed mainly to a rise in economic and physical activity. In other words, people go out and do more stuff on payday, which can lead to things like heart attacks, strokes and traffic accidents.
What’s an employer to do?
Unfortunately, the study’s authors were unable to provide any advice to employers when it came to administering payroll responsibilities. The authors said they couldn’t pull any recommendations related to the size or frequency of pay from the data they collected:
However, our data does not allow us to investigate how the size or frequency of income receipt affects the size of the mortality effects. Hence, our analysis does not give any advice on the optimal pay frequency for minimizing these effects. For example, several smaller payments may not mitigate the mortality consequences but rather create further occasions where mortality is exceptionally high.
However, the authors do hint that healthcare facilities could use the data to justify an increase in staffing on paydays:
Rather, the policy recommendations that an be drawn from our results relate to the staffing of, for example, health care facilities over the course of the month and during periods of raised economic activity.