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Family Leave & Paid Sick Days

About Family Leave & Paid Sick Days

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. IWPR studies several types of  paid time off from work:

  1. Paid sick leave, usable by employees with little or no advance notice, to recuperate from illness, seek medical care, or care for family members; and,
  2. Longer-term leave such as family and medical leave, parental leave, and disability leave, taken by fewer employees but for longer periods.

More than forty percent of private sector workers in the United States have no access to paid sick days (PSD). Paid sick days legislation, which would require businesses to provide leave when workers or their children are ill, has been introduced each year since 2005 in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. PSD is also the focus of several campaigns around the country at the local, state, and federal levels.

In a 2009 briefing paper, IWPR reported that employees who attended work while infected with H1N1 are estimated to have caused the infection of as many as 7 million co-workers (according to data compiled by IWPR from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Public opinion tends to support PSD policies as demonstrated by a 2010 survey by IWPR. The survey of registered voters, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, found that more than two-thirds of registered voters (69 percent) endorse laws to provide paid sick days.

Three out of four (76 percent) endorse laws to provide paid leave for family care and childbirth—81 percent of women and 71 percent of men.

IWPR conducts research on the impacts of both paid sick leave and longer-term leave, including the costs of implementing leave systems or passing paid sick time laws, as well as the anticipated benefits for workers, employers, and the public of expanding access to leave.

IWPR produces reports, memoranda, and testimony regarding the impacts of proposed paid leave laws or to inform policymakers, business leaders, and advocates. In 2010, IWPR staff members testified on paid sick leave before the House Labor Committee of the Illinois General Assembly, the Labor Relations Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and the New York City Council. IWPR also submitted a technical memorandum to the Maine Legislature.

Resources

San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Outcomes for Employers and Employees | Report

Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption Leave in the United States | Briefing Paper


The Need for Paid Parental Leave for Federal Employees: Adapting to a Changing Workforce | Report

Visit our external resources page for links to more information on this topic.To see our experts on this and other initiatives, click here.

Latest Reports from IWPR

Paid Sick Days Access and Usage Rates Vary by Race/Ethnicity, Occupation, and Earnings
by Jenny Xia, Jeffrey Hayes, Ph.D., Barbara Gault, Ph.D., and Hailey Nguyen (February 2016)

Utilizing data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), this briefing paper estimates the proportion of public and private sector workers ages 18 and older with access to paid sick days, and their use of paid sick days, by race and ethnicity, immigration status, occupation, earnings, job level (supervisor/nonsupervisory status), and other demographic and occupational characteristics.

 

Access to Paid Sick Time in St. Paul, Minnesota
by Jenny Xia (February 2016)

Approximately 42 percent of workers in St. Paul, Minnesota lack paid sick time, and low-income and part-time workers are especially unlikely to be covered. Access to paid sick time 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 time in St. Paul by sex, race and ethnicity, occupation, part/full-time employment status, and personal earnings through analysis of government data sources, including the 2012–2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2012-2014 American Community Survey (ACS).

 

Testimony before the Council of the District of Columbia Committee of the Whole regarding Bill 21-415, Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015
by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Hayes, Ph.D. (January 2016)

Testimony before the Council of the District of Columbia Committee of the Whole regarding Bill 21-415, Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015, presented on January 14, 2016.

 

The Best and Worst States Overall for Women in 2015
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (November 2015)

This Fact Sheet is based on findings from The Status of Women in the States: 2015, a comprehensive national report that presents and analyzes data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

 
Preview not available

Access to Paid Sick Time in Prince George’s County, Maryland
by Jessica Milli, Ph.D. and Daria Ulybina (September 2015)

Approximately 43 percent of private sector workers living in Prince George’s County, Maryland lack paid sick time, and among those, low-income and part-time workers are especially unlikely to be covered. Access to paid sick time 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 time in Prince George’s County by sex, race and ethnicity, occupation, part/full-time employment status, and personal earnings through analysis of government data sources, including the 2011–2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS).

 

The Status of Women in the States 2015–Work and Family
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (May 2015)

 

The Status of Women in the States: 2015 (full report)
by Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., Jessica Mill, Ph.D., Jeff Hayes, Ph.D., Ariane Hegewisch, M. Phil., Yana Mayayeva, Stephanie Roman, Julie Anderson, M.A., and Justine Augeri (May 2015)

The Status of Women in the States: 2015 provides critical data to identify areas of progress for women in states across the nation and pinpoint where additional improvements are still needed. It presents hundreds of data points for each state across seven areas that affect women’s lives: political participation, employment and earnings, work and family, poverty and opportunity, reproductive rights, health and well-being, and violence and safety. For each of these topic areas except violence and safety, the report calculates a composite index, ranks the states from best to worst, and assigns a letter grade based on the difference between the state’s performance in that area and goals set by IWPR (e.g., no remaining wage gap or the proportional representation of women in political office). The report also tracks progress over time, covers basic demographic statistics on women, and presents additional data on a range of topics related to women’s status. In addition, it gives an overview of how women from various population groups fare, including women of color, young women, older women, immigrant women, women living with a same-sex partner, and women in labor unions. This report builds on IWPR’s long-standing work on The Status of Women in the States, a series of data analyses and reports that for nearly 20 years have provided data on women’s status nationally and for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Status of Women in the States reports have three main goals: 1) to analyze and disseminate information about women’s progress in achieving rights and opportunities; 2) to identify and measure the remaining barriers to equality; and 3) to provide baseline measures for monitoring women’s progress. The data presented in these reports can serve as a resource for advocates, policymakers, and other stakeholders who seek to develop community investments, programs, and public policies that can lead to positive changes for women and families.

 

Workers' Access to Paid Sick Days in the States
by Institute for Women's Policy Research and the National Partnership for Women & Families (May 2015)

Millions of workers in the United States cannot take paid time away from work to recover or seek preventive care when they are sick. Instead, these people often have to risk their jobs or pay when inevitable short-term health and caregiving needs arise. Estimates of the number of workers lacking paid sick days range from 43 to 48 million. Analysis of 2012-2013 data conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), in collaboration with the National Partnership for Women & Families, finds that across the country the percentage of workers without paid sick days varies widely from a high of 49.7 percent in New Mexico to a low of 38.9 percent in New Hampshire.

 
Preview not available

Spring 2015 Newsletter: Annual Report Edition
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (May 2015)

Provides a review of IWPR's activities over the year.

 
Preview not available

Access to Paid Sick Time in Los Angeles, California
by Jessica Milli, Ph.D and Daria Ulbina (April 2015)

This briefing paper presents estimates of access to paid sick time in Los Angeles by sex, race/ethnicity, occupation, part/full-time employment status, and personal earnings through analysis of government data sources, including the 2011–2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS).

 

Access to Paid Sick Time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
by (April 2015)

This briefing paper presents estimates of access to paid sick time in Pittsburgh by sex, race/ethnicity, occupation, part/full-time employment status, and personal earnings through analysis of government data sources, including the 2011–2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS).

 

Access to Paid Sick Days in Louisiana
by Jenny Xia (March 2015)

An analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that approximately 41 percent of all workers (45 percent of private sector workers, compared with 17 percent of public sector workers) living in Louisiana 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 illness1 and workplace injuries,2 reduces health care costs, and supports children and families by helping parents meet their children’s health needs.3 This briefing paper presents estimates of access to paid sick days in Louisiana by sex, race and ethnicity, occupation, hours worked, and personal earnings through analysis of government data sources, including the 2011–2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), and the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS).

 
Preview not available

Valuing Good Health in Maryland: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Days
by Jessica Milli, Ph.D. (January 2015)

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 the costs and benefits of Maryland’s Earned Sick Days Act. It estimates how much time off Maryland 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. This study is one of a series of analyses conducted by IWPR examining the effects of earned sick leave policies.

 

Access to Paid Sick Days in Maryland
by Salina Tulachan and Jessica Milli, Ph.D. (January 2015)

This briefing paper presents estimates of private sector workers’ access to paid sick days in Maryland 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 2010–2012 American Community Survey (ACS).

 

Access to Paid Sick Days in Oregon
by Jessica Milli, Ph.D. and Sweta Joshi (January 2015)

An analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that approximately 47 percent of private sector workers living in Oregon lack even a single paid sick day (these figures exclude workers in Portland and Eugene, which both have paid sick days ordinances). 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 Oregon by sex, race and ethnicity, occupation, hours worked, and personal earnings through analysis of government data sources, including the 2011–2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), and the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS).

 

Paid Sick Time 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)

 
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