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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

      Paid Sick Days Access Varies by Race/Ethnicity, and Job Characteristics | Fact Sheet

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

      No Time to Be Sick:Why Everyone Suffers When Workers Don’t have Paid Sick Leave | Report

      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

      Valuing Good Health in Oregon: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Days
      by Claudia William, Jasmin Griffin, and Jeffrey Hayes (May 2013)

      This briefing paper uses data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Oregon Public Health Division, and the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate costs and benefits of Oregon’s House Bill 3390. It estimates how much time off Oregon workers would use under the proposed policy and the costs to employers for that 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 days policies.

       

      Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption Leave in the United States
      by Yuko Hara and Ariane Hegewisch (May 2013)

      The United States is one of only four countries globally, and the only high-income country, without a statutory right to paid maternity leave for employees. In all but a few states, it is up to the employer to decide whether to provide paid leave. This briefing paper summarizes employees’ legal rights in relation to pregnancy, childbirth and adoption, and nursing breaks, and examines how far employers are voluntarily moving to provide paid parental leave beyond basic legal rights. It draws on three data sources: leave benefits offered by Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies,” the Family and Medical Leave Act in 2012 Survey, and the National Compensation Survey. This briefing paper finds that the large majority of the “100 Best Companies” provides paid maternity leave, and many provide paid leave for adoption or paternity leave, although only a small minority provides pay during the full 12 weeks of FMLA leave. Among employers more broadly, a third (35 percent) of employees work for an employer offering paid maternity leave, and a fifth (20 percent) paid paternity leave, according to the FMLA 2012 Survey. According to the National Compensation Survey, only 12 percent of employees in the United States have access to paid leave for any care of family members (newborns, adopted children, or ill children or adults). Lower paid workers are least likely to have access to paid leave. International research suggests that the introduction of a statutory right to paid leave for parents would improve the health and economic situations of women and children and would promote economic growth.

       

      Access to Earned Sick Days in Oregon
      by Institute for Women's Policy Research (May 2013)

      An analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reveals that about 596,800 private sector employees in Oregon lack even a single earned sick day. Access to earned sick days promotes healthy work environments by reducing the spread of illness,1,2 increasing productivity,3 and supporting work and family balance.4 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 Oregon by occupation, by sex, race and ethnicity, personal annual earnings, and work schedule through analysis of government data sources, including the 2010–2011 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2009–2011 American Community Survey (ACS).

       
      Preview not available

      Access to Earned Sick Days in Oregon
      by (May 2013)

       

      Valuing Good Health in Vermont: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Health Care Time
      by Claudia Williams with assistance from Jasmin Griffin and Jeffrey Hayes (April 2013)

      The briefing paper uses data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Vermont Department of Health, and the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate costs and benefits of Vermont’s H.208. It estimates how much time off Vermont workers would use under the proposed policy and the costs to employers for that sick time. This analysis also uses findings from previous peer-reviewed research to estimate cost-savings associated with the 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 health care time policies.

       

      Valuing Good Health in New York City: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Days
      by Jeff Hayes, Ph.D. (March 2013)

       

      Valuing Good Health in New York City: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Days
      by Claudia Williams (March 2013)

       

      Valuing Good Health in Portland: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Days
      by Claudia Williams (March 2013)

      The briefing paper uses data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Oregon Public Health Division, and the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate costs and benefits of Portland’s “Protected Sick Time Act.” It estimates how much time off Portland workers would use under the proposed policy and the costs to employers for that sick time. This analysis also uses findings from previous peer-reviewed research to estimate cost savings associated with the policy, through reduced turnover, reduced spread of contagious disease in the workplace, prevention of productivity losses from employees working while sick, minimizing nursing-home stays, and reducing norovirus outbreaks in nursing homes. The study is one of a series of IWPR analyses examining the effects of earned sick days policies.

       

      Testimony Before the Public Health and Human Services Committee of the Philadelphia City Council regarding Bill 130004, Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces
      by Claudia Williams (March 2013)

       

      Testimony on SB 698: Maryland Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act
      by Claudia Williams (February 2013)

       

      Paid Sick Days in Philadelphia Would Lower Health Care Costs by Reducing Unnecessary Emergency Department Visits
      by Claudia Williams (February 2013)

      Thirty-four percent of Philadelphia private-sector employees, or approximately 182,629 workers, lack access to paid sick days. This fact sheet reports findings from research by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) on how increased access to paid sick days would improve both accesses to health care and health outcomes in Philadelphia. The research also quantifies the savings gained by providing access to paid sick days to all private-sector workers, thereby preventing some emergency department visits in Philadelphia.

       

      Access to Earned Sick Days in Maryland
      by Institute for Women's Policy Research (February 2013)

      A new analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reveals that more than 700,000 private sector employees in Maryland lack even a single earned sick day. Access to earned sick days promotes healthy work environments by reducing the spread of illnesses, , increasing productivity, and supporting work and family balance. Earned sick days allow people to take time off work to recover from personal illnesses and to tend to family members’ health without the fear of lost pay or other negative consequences. This briefing paper presents estimates of earned sick days access rates in Maryland by occupation, by sex, race and ethnicity, and personal annual earnings, through analysis of government data sources, including the 2010–2011 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2011 American Community Survey (ACS).

       

      Valuing Good Health in Maryland: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Days
      by Claudia Williams (February 2013)

      The briefing paper uses data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate costs and benefits of Maryland’s “Earned Sick and Safe Time Act.” It estimates how much ime off Maryland workers would use under the proposed policy and the costs to employers for that sick time. This analysis also uses findings from previous peer-reviewed research to estimate cost savings associated with the 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 days policies.

       

      Valuing Good Health in Philadelphia: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by Clau (January 2013)

      Policymakers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring that workers can take paid time off when they are sick. In addition to concerns about workers’ ability to respond to their own health needs, there is growing recognition that, with so many dual-earner and single-parent families, family members’ health needs also sometimes require workers to take time off from their job. Allowing workers with contagious illness to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers has important public health benefits. Paid sick days also protect workers from being disciplined or fired when they are too sick to work, help families and communities economically by preventing lost income due to illness, and offer savings to employers by reducing turnover and minimizing absenteeism.

       

      Access to Paid Sick Days in Portland, Oregon
      by Isela Bañuelos and Claudia Williams (December 2012)

      Access to paid sick days promotes healthy work environments by reducing the spread of illnesses, increasing productivity, and supporting work and family balance. Paid sick days allow employees to take time off work to recover from personal illnesses and tend to family members’ health without the fear of monetary or other negative consequences. Despite the importance of paid sick days, a large proportion of workers in the Portland, Oregon, area receive no paid sick time at all. This fact sheet presents paid sick days access rates by occupation, sex, race and ethnicity, and personal income in the Portland area. The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) derived these estimates through analysis of government data sources including the National Health Interview Survey and the American Community Survey.

       

      Recommendations for an Evaluation of the District of Columbia’s Paid Sick Days Law
      by Kevin Miller, Ph.D. (September 2012)

      This briefing paper presents recommendations for the evaluation and report on the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008.1 One provision of the Act, which mandates that employers in the District of Columbia provide paid sick days to some employees, requires the Auditor of the District of Columbia to prepare and submit a report on the Act’s impact.

       

      Valuing Good Health in Massachusetts: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by Kevin Miller, Ph.D. and Claudia Williams (May 2012)

      This report uses data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate the likely impact of the Massachusetts Act Establishing Earned Paid Sick Time. The study is one of a series of analyses by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) examining the costs and benefits of paid sick days policies. It estimates how much time off Massachusetts workers would use under the proposed policy and the costs to employers for that sick time. It also uses findings from previous peer-reviewed research to estimate how this leave policy would save money, by reducing turnover, cutting down on the spread of disease at work, helping employers avoid paying for low productivity, holding down nursing-home stays, and reducing norovirus outbreaks in nursing homes.

       

      Valuing Good Health in Massachusetts: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days (Executive Summary)
      by Kevin Miller, Ph.D. and Claudia Williams (May 2012)

      This report uses data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate the likely impact of the Massachusetts Act Establishing Earned Paid Sick Time. The study is one of a series of analyses by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) examining the costs and benefits of paid sick days policies. It estimates how much time off Massachusetts workers would use under the proposed policy and the costs to employers for that sick time. It also uses findings from previous peer-reviewed research to estimate how this leave policy would save money, by reducing turnover, cutting down on the spread of disease at work, helping employers avoid paying for low productivity, holding down nursing-home stays, and reducing norovirus outbreaks in nursing homes.

       

      Paid Sick Days in Massachusetts Would Lower Health Care Costs by Reducing Unnecessary Emergency Department Visits
      by Kevin Miller, Ph.D., and Claudia Williams (May 2012)

      Thirty-six percent of working Massachusetts residents, or approximately 910,000 employees, lack access to paid sick days. This fact sheet reports findings from research by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) on how increased access to paid sick days would improve both access to health care and health outcomes in Massachusetts. The research also quantifies the savings gained by providing access to paid sick days to all workers, thereby preventing some emergency department visits in Massachusetts.

       

      Paid Sick Days in New York City Would Lower Health Care Costs by Reducing Unnecessary Emergency Department Visits
      by Kevin Miller, Ph.D. and Claudia Williams (February 2012)

      In New York City, 50 percent of working New Yorkers, or approximately 1,580,000 employees, lack access to paid sick days. This fact sheet reports findings from research by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) on how increased access to paid sick days would improve both access to health care and health outcomes in New York City. The research also quantifies the savings gained by providing access to paid sick days to all workers, thereby preventing some emergency department visits in New York City.

       
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