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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

      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

      Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption Leave in the United States
      by Annamaria Sundbye and Ariane Hegewisch (May 2011)

       

      Access to Paid Sick Days in the States, 2010
      by Claudia Williams, Robert Drago, Ph.D., Kevin Miller, Ph.D., and Youngmin Yi (March 2011)

       

      Paid Sick Day Access Rates by Gender and Race/Ethnicity, 2010
      by IWPR (March 2011)

       

      San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Outcomes for Employers and Employees
      by Robert Drago, Ph.D. and Vicky Lovell, Ph.D. (February 2011)

      This study examines the effects of San Francisco’s recent paid sick days legislation on employees and employers.

      #A138, report, 44 pages
      $10.00
      Quantity:

      44 Million U.S. Workers Lacked Paid Sick Days in 2010: 77 Percent of Food Service Workers Lacked Access
      by Claudia Williams, Robert Drago, Ph.D., and Kevin Miller, Ph.D. (January 2011)

       

      The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by Robert Drago, Ph.D. (July 2010)

       

      Valuing Good Health in Connecticut: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by (April 2010)

      Policymakers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring that workers have paid sick days. In addition to concerns about workers' ability to respond to their own health needs, there is growing recognition that, which so many dual-earner and single-parent families, family members' health needs can be address only by workers taking time from their scheduled hours on the job. Paid sick days policies allow workers with contagious illnesses to avoid unnecessary contact with coworkers and customers and, thus, are a fundamental part of public health insurance. Paid sick days protect workers from being fired when they are too sick to work and offer substantial savings to employers by reducing turnover and minimizing absenteeism.

       

      Paid Sick Days Can Help Contain Health Care Costs
      by Kevin Miller, PhD (April 2010)

      Health spending in the United States as a proportion of GDP has more than doubled in the past 35 years and is the highest among all nations in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

       

      Valuing Good Health in Connecticut: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (April 2010)

      Connecticut lawmakers are now considering SB 63, which would require employers to provide all workers with paid sick days. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the proposed law, using governmentcollected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s costbenefit analysis.

       

      The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by Kevin Miller, PhD (March 2010)

      Testimony of Kevin Miller, Ph.D., Institute for Women’s Policy Research Before the House Labor Committee of the 96th General Assembly of Illinois regarding H.B. 3665, the Healthy Workplace Act

       

      Memorandum: Possible amendment to L.D. 1665, An Act to Prevent the Spread of H1N1
      by Kevin Miller, Ph.D. (March 2010)

      This memo addresses the estimated impact of a proposed amendment to L.D. 1665, which would require Maine employers to allow workers to accrue paid sick days.

       

      Sick at Work: Infected Employees in the Workplace During the H1N1 Pandemic
      by Robert Drago, PhD, Pennsylvania State University, and Kevin Miller, PhD (January 2010)

      During the recent flu pandemic, workers were urged to stay home when ill. Many employees in the U.S., however, either cannot take leave when they or a child are sick or do not receive pay for doing so, forcing them to choose between their paycheck and the health of their children, customers, coworkers, and selves. 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey data reveal that two of five private sector workers lack paid sick days coverage, though 89 percent of state and local government employees and virtually all federal workers receive paid sick days.

      #B284, Briefing Paper, 14 pages
      $5.00
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      Preview not available

      The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by (January 2010)

      Testimony of Kevin Miller, Ph.D., before the Joint Standing Committee on Labor of the 124th Maine State Legislature regarding L.D. 1665, “An Act to Prevent the Spread of H1N1”

       

      Valuing Good Health in Maine: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (January 2010)

      Maine lawmakers are now considering LD 1665, which would require employers to provide all workers with paid sick days. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the proposed law, using government-collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s cost-benefit analysis.

       
      Preview not available

      Testimony Before the Civil Service and Labor Committee of the New York City Council regarding Introduction 1059, the Paid Sick Time Act
      by (November 2009)

      The Institute has just released a report, authored by myself and IWPR analyst Claudia Williams, detailing our estimate of the costs and benefits of the paid sick days policy that the City Council of New York is currently considering. I submit our report along with my testimony. The report contains extensive detail regarding our estimate methodology and an executive summary that briefly states our findings; the report is available on the IWPR website.

       

      Valuing Good Health in New Hampshire: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (October 2009)

      New Hampshire lawmakers are now considering HB 662, which would make it mandatory for businesses with 10 or more employees to provide paid sick days. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the proposed law, using government-collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s cost-benefit analysis.

       

      Valuing Good Health in New York City: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (September 2009)

      New York City lawmakers are now considering a law that would require employers provide all workers with paid sick days. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the proposed law, using government collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s analysis.

       

      Valuing Good Health in New York City: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days-Full Executive Summary
      by Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (September 2009)

      New York City lawmakers are now considering a law that would require employers provide all workers with paid sick days. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the proposed law, using government-collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s analysis.

       

      Valuing Good Health in New Hampshire: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (September 2009)

      New Hampshire lawmakers are now considering HB 662, which would make it mandatory for businesses with 10 or more employees to provide paid sick days. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the proposed law, using government-collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s cost-benefit analysis

       

      The Need for Paid Parental Leave for Federal Employees: Adapting to a Changing Workforce-Executive Summary
      by Kevin Miller, PhD, Allison Suppan Helmuth, and Robin Farabee-Siers (August 2009)

      The federal government, unlike many large private employers, does not provide paid parental leave to its employees. The federal government is the largest single employer in the United States, but federal employees are significantly older and better educated than private sector workers and have already begun retiring at an increasing rate. The departure of many baby boomers from the federal workforce will require the government to recruit and retain younger workers, who expect more job flexibility than workers from previous generations. The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act would provide four weeks of paid leave for federal workers who adopt, foster, or have a child. This report discusses the role that providing paid parental leave to federal employees could play in addressing federal workforce challenges. Providing paid parental leave for federal workers is expected to improve recruitment and retention of young workers, preventing $50 million per year in costs associated with employee turnover.

       
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