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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

Paid Sick Days Access in Minnesota Varies by County of Residence
by Jessica Milli, Ph.D. (September 2014)

 

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.

 
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