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44% of San Diegans Lack Access to Earned Sick Days

A new analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that 44 percent of San Diego’s private sector employees lack access to a single earned sick day. More than half of San Diego's Hispanic workers (55%) lack access to earned sick days, compared with forty percent of both black and white workers.
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Feb 26, 2014

Washington, DC—A new analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that 44 percent of San Diego’s private sector employees lack access to a single earned sick day. More than half of San Diego's Hispanic workers (55%) lack access to earned sick days, compared with forty percent of both black and white workers.

Earned sick days are especially uncommon in jobs that require frequent contact with the public. More than 80 percent of employees working in food services and about half of employees in the accommodation industry lack access to earned sick days. The analysis uses data from the 2011 American Community Survey and the 2010–2011 National Health Interview Survey to estimate earned sick days access in San Diego by sex, race and ethnicity, occupation, and industry.

Earned sick days allow workers to take needed time off without fear of being fired, and restore a work and family balance. Previous research shows that about half of all workers who are covered by earned sick days plans do not take any days off for illness or injury in a given year. When used, however, this earned time allows workers and their families to obtain health care more promptly, leading to improved health outcomes, speedier recoveries, and a more productive workforce.

Earned sick days can also reduce both business and public health costs by cutting down on the spread of disease at work, helping employers avoid paying for low productivity, and by improving worker moral.

“Earned sick days are an inexpensive but important tool for promoting public health, by minimizing contagion and giving workers the opportunity to seek health services or care for their families,” said Barbara Gault, IWPR Vice President and Executive Director.

 

The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies.

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