Informing policy. Inspiring change. Improving lives.
1200 18th Street NW, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20036
202 785-5100
iwpr@iwpr.org

Health & Safety

Health and Safety

Women have a set of specific concerns when it comes to health. More often than not, women make the majority of health care-related decisions regarding health issues for their families, are the primary caregivers, and spend more than their male counterparts on health (KFF 2009; Agency for 2004). While women, on average, are more likely than men to have health insurance, they are at special risk of a number of specific health conditions, such as depression and exposure to intimate partner violence. Low-income women and women of color are especially likely to experience poor health outcomes, with African American women, in particular, showing much higher rates of HIV/AIDS, heart disease, diabetes, and infants with low birth weight. These realities make consideration of woman-specific issues vitally important to policy decisions in the area of health.

IWPR’s research on women’s health and safety informs policy decisions by identifying gender and racial/ethnic disparities in health outcomes and access to health care services in addition to highlighting opportunities for improvement. IWPR’s reports and resources discuss a range of policy issues including access to paid sick days, the relationship between women’s health and socio-economic status, cost-benefit analyses of paid sick days provision, and rates of breastfeeding.

An IWPR fact sheet reported that 44 million workers in the United States lacked paid sick days in 2010, with 77 percent of food service workers lacking access. Preceding the passage of the first state-wide paid sick days legislation in the United States in Connecticut, IWPR estimated that Connecticut taxpayers would save $4.7 million annually in a cost-benefit analysis of universal paid sick days provision.

Recent reports on policy impacts on breastfeeding rates estimate that the breastfeeding protections in the 2010 Affordable Care Act will increase the national rate of breastfeeding through six months of age by four full percentage points, giving more women and their children the opportunity to draw from the health benefits associated with breastfeeding, such as protection from childhood leukemia, sudden infant death syndrome, and diabetes.

View our suggested resources page or multimedia page for more information on this topic.

Latest Reports from IWPR

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.

 

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.

 

Health, Safety, Violence, and Disaster: How Economic Analysis Improves Outcomes for Women and Families
by Susan Martin, Ph.D. and Youngmin Yi (May 2013)

IWPR’s women’s health and safety efforts highlight the social and economic aspects of health, safety, and security issues. Over the past quarter century, the Institute has addressed women’s access to health insurance, the costs and benefits of preventive health services, reproductive health and rights, including the economic benefits of economic freedom, and the link between women’s socioeconomic status and health. IWPR’s examinations of safety issues have drawn attention to domestic violence as well as the effects of terrorism and disasters on women’s well-being. Its research has informed policy decisions by identifying both the limitations on access to health care services and ways to expand access, as well as the gender and racial/ethnic disparities in health outcomes. The Institute’s reports and resources have addressed a range of policy issues such as access to paid sick days including analyses of the health benefits of providing paid sick-days, breastfeeding protections under the Affordable Care Act, and in-home services for the elderly and others who need long-term care. For example, IWPR’s fact sheets and briefing papers include a 1994 analysis of the proposed Clinton health care reform o access to health insurance for women of color, a policy update on abortion since the passage of Roe v. Wade, published in 2003, and an estimate in 2012 of potential benefits and cost savings, focused on savings from reduced emergency room use, anticipated with the adoption of mandatory paid sick days in New York City.

 

Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption Leave in the United States
by Yuko Hara and Ariane Hegewisch (May 2013)

The United States is one of only four countries globally, and the only high-income country, without a statutory right to paid maternity leave for employees. In all but a few states, it is up to the employer to decide whether to provide paid leave. This briefing paper summarizes employees’ legal rights in relation to pregnancy, childbirth and adoption, and nursing breaks, and examines how far employers are voluntarily moving to provide paid parental leave beyond basic legal rights. It draws on three data sources: leave benefits offered by Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies,” the Family and Medical Leave Act in 2012 Survey, and the National Compensation Survey. This briefing paper finds that the large majority of the “100 Best Companies” provides paid maternity leave, and many provide paid leave for adoption or paternity leave, although only a small minority provides pay during the full 12 weeks of FMLA leave. Among employers more broadly, a third (35 percent) of employees work for an employer offering paid maternity leave, and a fifth (20 percent) paid paternity leave, according to the FMLA 2012 Survey. According to the National Compensation Survey, only 12 percent of employees in the United States have access to paid leave for any care of family members (newborns, adopted children, or ill children or adults). Lower paid workers are least likely to have access to paid leave. International research suggests that the introduction of a statutory right to paid leave for parents would improve the health and economic situations of women and children and would promote economic growth.

 

Access to Earned Sick Days in Oregon
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (May 2013)

An analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reveals that about 596,800 private sector employees in Oregon lack even a single earned sick day. Access to earned sick days promotes healthy work environments by reducing the spread of illness,1,2 increasing productivity,3 and supporting work and family balance.4 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 Oregon by occupation, by sex, race and ethnicity, personal annual earnings, and work schedule through analysis of government data sources, including the 2010–2011 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2009–2011 American Community Survey (ACS).

 
Preview not available

Access to Earned Sick Days in Oregon
by (May 2013)

 

Valuing Good Health in Vermont: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Health Care Time
by Claudia Williams with assistance from Jasmin Griffin and Jeffrey Hayes (April 2013)

The briefing paper uses data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Vermont Department of Health, and the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate costs and benefits of Vermont’s H.208. It estimates how much time off Vermont 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 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 health care time policies.

 

Valuing Good Health in New York City: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Days
by Jeff Hayes, Ph.D. (March 2013)

 

Valuing Good Health in New York City: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Days
by Claudia Williams (March 2013)

 

Valuing Good Health in Portland: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Days
by Claudia Williams (March 2013)

The 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 Portland’s “Protected Sick Time Act.” It estimates how much time off Portland 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 policy, through reduced turnover, reduced spread of contagious disease in the workplace, prevention of productivity losses from employees working while sick, minimizing nursing-home stays, and reducing norovirus outbreaks in nursing homes. The study is one of a series of IWPR analyses examining the effects of earned sick days policies.

 

Testimony Before the Public Health and Human Services Committee of the Philadelphia City Council regarding Bill 130004, Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces
by Claudia Williams (March 2013)

 

Testimony on SB 698: Maryland Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act
by Claudia Williams (February 2013)

 
Document Actions
Go to Home Page