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41 Million Workers Without Access to Paid Sick Days

March 5, 2014

A new study from The Institute of Women’s Policy Research shows that although coverage of paid sick days has gone up (57% in 2009 to 61% in 2012), there are still 41 million American workers that cannot earn paid time off to use when they or a loved one are sick.

The study also identifies that Hispanics are less likely than white, Asian, or black workers to have access to paid sick days. Overall, less than half of Hispanic workers over the age of 18 are granted the right to paid time off for an illness. Hispanics are over represented in industries that are less likely to receive sick pay, which leads to their ethnicity having the least coverage.

Consistent with what other studies have shown, most people working in the public sector are still not covered, which causes a public health concern. Only 24% of Food Service Workers and 31% of workers in Personal Care and Service occupations have access to paid sick days.

Those that work full-time (35+ hours per week) are at an advantage with 70% earning sick pay. Workers that are averaging 20-34 hours per week are only at 26%, and those working less  that 20 hours are even less likely to have the benefit (approximately 10%).

Read the findings in the report: Paid Sick Days Access in the United States: Differences by Race/Ethnicity, Occupation, Earnings, and Work Schedule by Claudia Williams, Barbara Gault, Ph.D. (March 2014)

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