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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

      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.

       

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

       
      Preview not available

      Valuing Good Health in North Carolina
      by (July 2009)

      Policymakers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring the adequacy of paid sick days policies. 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 can only be addressed by workers taking a break from their scheduled time on the job. Allowing workers with contagious diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers is a fundamental public health measure. Paid sick days protect workers from being fired when they are too sick to work, offer substantial savings to employers by reducing turnover and minimizing absenteeism.

       

      Parents As Child Care Providers: A Menu of Parental Leave Models
      by Vicky Lovell, PhD and Allison Suppan Helmuth (May 2009)

      Public policy efforts to strengthen the early care and education system in the US could benefit by placing greater emphasis on the role that working parents can play. One policy advance that would reduce pressure on the early child care market is to expand support for employees caring for their newborns at home.

       

      Valuing Good Health in North Carolina: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by Kevin Miller, Ph.D., and Claudia Williams (May 2009)

      North Carolina lawmakers are now considering the Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces Act. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces Act, 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 Illinois: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by Vicky Lovell, Ph.D. (February 2009)

      Policymakers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring the adequacy of paid sick days policies. 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 can be addressed only by workers taking time from their scheduled hours on the job. Paid sick days policies also allow workers with contagious diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers and, thus, are a fundamental public health measure. 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.

       

      Valuing Good Health in Massachusetts: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by Vicky Lovell, PhD, Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (February 2009)

      Policy makers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring the adequacy of paid sick days policies. 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 can be addressed only by workers taking time from their scheduled hours on the job. Paid sick days policies also allow workers with contagious diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers and, thus, are a fundamental public health measure. 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.

       

      Valuing Good Health in Massachusetts: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by Vicky Lovell, PhD, Kevin Miller, PhD, and Claudia Williams (January 2009)

      FULL EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Policy makers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring the adequacy of paid sick days policies. 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 can be addressed only by workers taking time from their scheduled hours on the job. Paid sick days policies also allow workers with contagious diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers and, thus, are a fundamental public health measure. 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.

       
      Preview not available

      Valuing Good Health in Illinois
      by (January 2009)

      Policymakers across the country are increasingly interested in ensuring the adequacy of paid sick days policies. 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 can be addressed only by workers taking time from their scheduled hours on the job. Paid sick days policies also allow workers with contagious diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers and, thus, are a fundamental public health measure. 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. Illinois lawmakers are now considering the Healthy Workplace Act. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has estimated the costs and benefits of the Healthy Workplace Act, using government-collected data, peer-reviewed research literature, and a thoroughly vetted methodology. Below are key findings from IWPR’s cost-benefit analysis.

       

      An Estimate of Program Cost under Oregon Senate Bill 966, the Family Leave Benefits Insurance Act
      by (December 2008)

      Children First for Oregon requested that the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analyze the Family Leave Benefits Insurance Act in order to provide lawmakers and policy advocates with information about the likely costs and use of a universal paid family leave insurance program in Oregon. This document presents that estimate.

       

      Job Growth Strong with Paid Sick Days
      by Vicky Lovell, PhD and Kevin Miller, PhD (October 2008)

      Job growth has been strong in San Francisco compared with other Bay Area counties following implementation of a new paid sick days standard in San Francisco on February 5, 2007, according to data from the California Employment Development Department.1

       

      Paid Sick Days Initiative Would Support Milwaukee Victims of Domestic Violence
      by Vicky Lovell, Ph.D. (September 2008)

      Milwaukee’s paid sick days referendum would allow workers to take time from their scheduled hours on the job to recover from illness. It would also guarantee more than 260,000 Milwaukeeans the ability to access services for domestic violence and sexual assault, without the risk of losing wages or a job.1 While a relatively small number of Milwaukee workers will likely need paid time off for these purposes, this job-protected paid time off could be critical to building family safety and security.

       

      A Prescription for Good Asthma Care for Children: Paid Sick Days for Milwaukee Parents Parents’ Lack of Job Flexibility Hurts Children with Chronic Health Problems
      by Vicky Lovell, Ph.D. (September 2008)

      Asthma treatment is a priority for Wisconsin’s public health system, according to the Wisconsin Turning Point Transformation Team.1 The most common chronic health problem for children, asthma sent nearly 3,800 Wisconsin children to the emergency room in 2005, and more than 700 were hospitalized, at a cost of close to $4 million.

       

      Valuing Good Health in Milwaukee: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
      by Vicky Lovell, Ph.D. (August 2008)

       

      The Cost of Paid Parental Leave for Federal Workers: Revising a CBO Cost Estimate to Reflect H.R. 5781’s Proposed Four-Week Policy
      by Vicky Lovell, PhD and Kevin Miller, PhD (August 2008)

      org The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated the five-year cost of a proposed paid parental leave program for federal workers.1 The estimate for H.R. 5781 makes a problematic assumption about administration of the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (FEPPLA) by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The CBO estimates a 50 percent probability that OPM will use the authority granted in the bill to increase the amount of paid leave available to eligible employees to eight weeks (from four weeks) in the second fiscal year of the program.

       
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