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.
According to IWPR research, however, more than forty percent of private sector workers in the United States have no access to even a single paid sick day.
IWPR pioneered the issue of paid sick days by noting in its research that low-income single mothers often lost their jobs because of their own or a family member’s illness, leaving them in poverty.
Having paid sick days provides more economic security, particularly to low-income workers, who are able to take a day off to care for their own illness or for a family member without fear of losing their job. This issue is particularly important to women who tend to serve as caregivers for children and older relatives. IWPR research on paid sick days has found that employees with access to the benefit have better self-reported health and are less likely to visit hospital emergency rooms, reducing private and public health care costs by $1 billion per year (n 2010 dollars).