Washington, DC

—New analysis by the

Institute for Women’s Policy Research

(IWPR) finds that

41 percent of Louisiana’s workers

lack access to a single paid sick day, and access is especially low among part-time and low-wage workers, communities of color, and service workers in the state.

Four in five part-time workers, and

seven in ten low-wage workers

in Louisiana lack access to paid sick days. Access is especially uncommon in food service and personal care occupations— jobs that often require frequent contact with the public—where three quarters or more workers do not have access to paid sick days. The vast majority of workers who lack paid sick days are employed in the private sector. Forty-five percent of private sector workers, compared with only 17 percent of public sector workers lack access to paid sick days. Among those private sector workers, residents of Northwest Louisiana are the least likely to have paid sick days, with fewer than half of all workers having access. By contrast, residents of Lafayette Parish working in the private sector are the most likely to have paid sick days.

Hispanic and Black workers are especially unlikely to be covered by paid sick days: 45 percent of Black and 58 percent of Hispanic workers lack coverage, compared with 37 percent of white workers. Looking across the total population of those without paid sick days coverage, 57 percent are white, 7 percent are Hispanic, 33 percent are black, and 2 percent are Asian. These figures show that, although  most of those without coverage in the state are white, black and Hispanic workers are over-represented among those without coverage, when comparing their rates of access to paid sick days to their representation in the state’s population overall.

“This research illustrates a striking inequality in access to paid sick days across Louisiana,” said

IWPR Senior Research Associate Jessica Milli, Ph.D.

“Workers who are economically vulnerable—working in part-time jobs or low-wage jobs—are also the least able to lose pay when they are sick and the least likely to have employer-provided paid sick days in Louisiana. Those same workers often work in food service and personal care occupations, where lack of paid sick days has important public health implications.”

Paid sick leave policies help parents fulfill their caregiving responsibilities.


shows that having paid sick leave is the primary factor in a parent’s decision to stay home when their children are sick. Parents without access to paid sick days are nearly twice as likely to send their children to school or child care sick.

San Francisco passed the country’s first paid sick days ordinance in 2007. Following implementation of the ordinance, IWPR analyses found that

two-thirds of employers

surveyed were supportive of the measure and that job growth in San Francisco


that of its surrounding counties. Available research on other cities and the state of Connecticut, which have passed similar laws, shows little evidence of negative effects on employment or local businesses.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR)

is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies.