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Family Leave & Paid Sick Days

About Family Leave & Paid Sick Days

For American workers, a good job has many defining characteristics: a fair wage or salary, health care benefits, a safe work environment, and the ability to take time off work when needed without losing pay. IWPR studies several types of  paid time off from work:

  1. Paid sick leave, usable by employees with little or no advance notice, to recuperate from illness, seek medical care, or care for family members; and,
  2. Longer-term leave such as family and medical leave, parental leave, and disability leave, taken by fewer employees but for longer periods.

      More than forty percent of private sector workers in the United States have no access to paid sick days (PSD). Paid sick days legislation, which would require businesses to provide leave when workers or their children are ill, has been introduced each year since 2005 in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. PSD is also the focus of several campaigns around the country at the local, state, and federal levels.

      In a 2009 briefing paper, IWPR reported that employees who attended work while infected with H1N1 are estimated to have caused the infection of as many as 7 million co-workers (according to data compiled by IWPR from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Public opinion tends to support PSD policies as demonstrated by a 2010 survey by IWPR. The survey of registered voters, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, found that more than two-thirds of registered voters (69 percent) endorse laws to provide paid sick days.

      Three out of four (76 percent) endorse laws to provide paid leave for family care and childbirth—81 percent of women and 71 percent of men.

      IWPR conducts research on the impacts of both paid sick leave and longer-term leave, including the costs of implementing leave systems or passing paid sick time laws, as well as the anticipated benefits for workers, employers, and the public of expanding access to leave.

      IWPR produces reports, memoranda, and testimony regarding the impacts of proposed paid leave laws or to inform policymakers, business leaders, and advocates. In 2010, IWPR staff members testified on paid sick leave before the House Labor Committee of the Illinois General Assembly, the Labor Relations Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and the New York City Council. IWPR also submitted a technical memorandum to the Maine Legislature.

      Resources

      Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption Leave in the United States | Briefing Paper

      No Time to Be Sick:Why Everyone Suffers When Workers Don’t have Paid Sick Leave | Report

      The Need for Paid Parental Leave for Federal Employees:
      Adapting to a Changing Workforce
      | Report

      Visit our external resources page for links to more information on this topic.

      To see our experts on this and other initiatives, click here.

      Latest Reports from IWPR

      Access to Paid Sick Days in California
      by Salina Tulachan and Jessica Milli, Ph.D. (August 2014)

      An analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that approximately 44 percent of workers living in California lack even a single paid sick day. This lack of access is even more pronounced among low-income and part-time workers and shows considerable variability across counties in California. Access to paid sick days promotes safe and healthy work environments by reducing the spread of illness and workplace injuries, reduces health care costs, and supports children and families by helping parents to fulfill their caregiving responsibilities. This briefing paper presents estimates of access to paid sick days in California by sex, race and ethnicity, occupation, part/full-time employment status, personal earnings and county of residence through analysis of government data sources, including the 2010–2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), and the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS).

       

      Access to Paid Sick Days in Orange County, Florida
      by Salina Tulachan and Jessica Milli, Ph.D. (August 2014)

      An analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that approximately 45 percent of workers living in Orange County, Florida lack even a single paid sick day. This lack of access is even more pronounced among low-income and part-time workers. Access to paid sick days promotes safe and healthy work environments by reducing the spread of illness and workplace injuries, reduces health care costs, and supports children and families by helping parents to fulfill their caregiving responsibilities. This briefing paper presents estimates of access to paid sick days in Orange County by sex, race and ethnicity, industry, part/full-time employment status, and personal earnings through analysis of government data sources, including the 2010–2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), and the 2010–2012 American Community Survey (ACS).

       

      Access to Paid Sick Days in San Jose
      by Jessica Milli, Ph.D. (August 2014)

      An analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reveals that about 35 percent of private sector employees in San Jose lack even a single paid sick day. Access to paid sick days promotes healthy work environments by reducing the spread of illness, , increasing productivity, and supporting work and family balance. This briefing paper presents estimates of access to paid sick days in San Jose by sex, race and ethnicity, industry, occupation, earnings, and family status through analysis of government data sources, including the 2011–2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2009–2011 American Community Survey (ACS).

       

      The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days (Testimony before the Mayor's Task Force on Paid Sick Leave of Philadelphia)
      by Jessica Milli, Ph.D. (August 2014)

      Testimony of Jessica Milli, Ph.D., before the Mayor’s Task Force on Paid Sick Leave of Philadelphia (August 6, 2014)

       
      Preview not available

      Access to Paid Sick Days in North Carolina
      by Jessica Milli, Ph.D. (August 2014)

      An analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) estimates that 39 percent of private sector employees working in North Carolina lack even a single paid sick day. This lack of access is even more pronounced among healthcare support workers who provide direct care: 49 percent currently lack access to paid sick days. Paid sick days can promote healthy work environments by reducing the spread of illness, increasing productivity by allowing workers to avoid coming to work sick, reducing workplace injuries, and supporting work and family balance. This briefing paper presents estimates of access to paid sick days in North Carolina by sex, race and ethnicity, occupation, hours worked, and earnings through analysis of government data sources, including the 2011–2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS).

       

      Paid Sick Days Access Varies by Race/Ethnicity, and Job Characteristics
      by Rachel O'Connor, Jeff Hayes, Ph.D., Barbara Gault, Ph.D. (July 2014)

      Paid sick days bring multiple benefits to employers, workers, families, and communities at large. The economic and public health benefits of paid sick leave coverage are substantial, including safer work environments; reduced spread of contagion; and reduced health care costs. Access to this important benefit, however, is still too rare, and is unequally distributed across the U.S. population, with substantial differences by race and ethnicity, occupation, earnings levels, and work schedules. New data also reveals differences by sexual orientation, especially for men.

       

      As Foreign-Born Worker Population Grows, Many Lack Paid Sick Days
      by Alex Wang, Jeffrey Hayes, and Liz Ben - Ishai (July 2014)

      Research demonstrates that low-wage workers and people of color are least likely to have access to paid sick days.This brief builds on previous research to provide an analysis of immigrant access to sick days using data from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

       

      Paid Parental Leave in the United States: What the Data Tell Us about Access, Usage, and Economic and Health Benefits
      by Barbara Gault, Ph.D., Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Ariane Hegewisch, Jessica Milli, Ph.D., Lindsey Reichlin (June 2014)

      This paper was prepared by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) as a part of a series of Scholars’ Papers sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of American Women: Report of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, 1963.

       

      Access to Paid Sick Leave in Oakland, California
      by Jessica Milli (June 2014)

      This briefing paper presents estimates of access to paid sick leave in Oakland by age, sex, race and ethnicity, industry, and hourly earnings through analysis of government data sources, including the 2011–2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), and the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS).

       

      Valuing Good Health in Illinois: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Time
      by Claudia Williams (March 2014)

      This briefing paper uses data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate costs and benefits of Illinois’ Earned Sick Time Act. It estimates how much time off Illinois workers would use under the proposed policy and the costs to employers for that earned sick time. This analysis also uses findings from previous peer-reviewed research to estimate cost-savings associated with the proposed policy, through reduced turnover, reduced spread of contagious disease in the workplace, increased productivity; minimized nursing-home stays, and reduced norovirus outbreaks in nursing homes. The study is one of a series of analyses by IWPR examining the effects of earned sick time policies.

       

      Valuing Good Health in Chicago: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Time
      by Claudia Williams (March 2014)

      This briefing paper uses data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate costs and benefits of Chicago’s Earned Sick Time Ordinance. It estimates how much time off Chicago workers would use under the proposed policy and the costs to employers for that earned sick time. This analysis also uses findings from previous peer-reviewed research to estimate cost-savings associated with the proposed policy, through reduced turnover, reduced spread of contagious disease in the workplace, prevention of productivity losses from employees working while sick, minimized nursing-home stays, and reduced norovirus outbreaks in nursing homes. The study is one of a series of analyses by IWPR examining the effects of earned sick time policies.

       

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

      Paid sick days bring substantial benefits to employers, workers, families, and communities. The economic and public health benefits of paid sick leave coverage include safer work environments; improved work life balance, reduced spread of contagion; and reduced health care costs. Access to this important benefit, however, is still too rare, and is unequally distributed across the U.S. population, with differences by race and ethnicity, occupation, earnings levels, and work schedules. Utilizing data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), IWPR finds that in 2012, approximately 61 percent of private-sector workers age 18 and older in the U.S. had access to paid sick days (Figure 1); up from 57 percent in 2009. More than 41 million workers lack access.

       

      Access to Earned Sick Leave in San Diego
      by Claudia Williams (February 2014)

      An analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reveals that about 433,500 private sector employees in San Diego lack even a single earned sick day. Access to earned sick leave promotes healthy work environments by reducing the spread of illness, , increasing productivity, and supporting work and family balance. This briefing paper presents estimates of lack of earned sick leave in San Diego by sex, race and ethnicity, industry, and occupation through analysis of government data sources, including the 2011–2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2009–2011 American Community Survey (ACS).

       

      Valuing Good Health in Newark: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Time
      by Claudia Williams, Susan Andrzejewski, and Jeff Hayes, Ph.D. (December 2013)

      This briefing paper uses data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New Jersey Department of Health, and the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate costs and benefits of Newark’s Worker Sick Leave Ordinance. It estimates how much time off Newark workers would use under the proposed policy and the costs to employers for that earned sick time. This analysis also uses findings from previous peer-reviewed research to estimate cost-savings associated with the proposed policy, through reduced turnover, reduced spread of contagious disease in the workplace, prevention of productivity losses from employees working while sick, minimized nursing-home stays, and reduced norovirus outbreaks in nursing homes. The study is one of a series of analyses by IWPR examining the effects of earned sick day policies.

       

      Access to Earned Sick Days in Eugene, Oregon
      by Claudia Williams. (December 2013)

      An analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reveals that about 25,310 or 51 percent of private sector employees in Eugene, Oregon lack even a single earned sick day off. Access to earned sick days promotes healthy work environments by reducing the spread of illness, increasing productivity, and supporting work and family balance. Earned sick days allow people to take time off work to recover from illness and to tend to family members’ health without the fear of lost pay or other negative consequences. This briefing paper presents estimates of lack of earned sick days access rates in Eugene, Oregon by sex, and personal annual earnings, and in Oregon by race and ethnicity through analysis of government data sources, including the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the American Community Survey (ACS).

       

      Testimony of Claudia Williams, Institute for Women’s Policy Research Before the Committee on Finance and Revenue of the Washington D.C. City Council regarding B20-438 and B20-480
      by Claudia Williams (October 2013)

       

      Valuing Good Health in the District of Columbia: The Costs and Benefits of the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act of 2013
      by Claudia Williams and Jeff Hayes, Ph.D. (October 2013)

      Using the parameters of the proposed legislation and publicly available data, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) estimates some of the anticipated costs and benefits to employees and employers that will result from providing earned sick days to newly covered workers. This analysis focuses specifically on the costs and benefits associated with potential new coverage in the restaurant industry, and part-time and recently hired workers in all occupations and industries.

       

      Spring/Summer 2013 Newsletter-25th Anniversary Edition
      by Institute for Women's Policy Research (August 2013)

      This special 25th Anniversary edition of the newsletter presents a review of IWPR's policy research since our founding in 1987.

       

      Memorandum: Proposed temporary caregiver insurance (TCI) within Rhode Island’s Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program
      by Jeff Hayes (June 2013)

      IWPR has calculated estimates of the cost of providing temporary caregiver insured leave proposed under Rhode Island's S 0231, which would provide up to eight (8) weeks of wage replacement benefits to workers who take time off work to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, domestic partner, or to bond with a new child.

       

      Valuing Good Health in Oregon: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Days
      by Claudia William, Jasmin Griffin, and Jeffrey Hayes (May 2013)

      This briefing paper uses data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Oregon Public Health Division, and the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate costs and benefits of Oregon’s House Bill 3390. It estimates how much time off Oregon workers would use under the proposed policy and the costs to employers for that sick time. This analysis also uses findings from previous peer-reviewed research to estimate cost-savings associated with the proposed policy, through reduced turnover, reduced spread of contagious disease in the workplace, prevention of productivity losses from employees working while sick, minimized nursing-home stays, and reduced norovirus outbreaks in nursing homes. The study is one of a series of analyses by IWPR examining the effects of earned sick days policies.

       
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