Unnecessary Losses to African American Workers

Roberta Spalter-Roth, Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D.

April 15, 1990
  • ID: A105a

When a person temporarily leaves their employment because of the arrival of a child, illness of a family member, or her or his own illness, economic costs arise for three groups: workers, employers, and society. Workers in the U.S. lose enormous amounts in earnings from absence due to illness and family care– an estimated $100 billion annually. Of these losses, at least $12 billion can be attributed to the lack of job protected leave. In addition, there are substantial outlays by taxpayers for unemployment compensation, welfare payments, Supplemental Security Income, etc. when workers do not have the right to return to their jobs– an estimated $4.3 billion.