Informing policy. Inspiring change. Improving lives.
1200 18th Street NW, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20036
202 785-5100

IWPR Publication

No Time to Be Sick:Why Everyone Suffers When Workers Don’t have Paid Sick Leave
by Vicky Lovell, Ph.D. (December 2003)

Paid sick leave gives workers an opportunity to regain their health, return to full productivity at work, and avoid spreading disease to their co-workers, all of which reduces employers’ overall absence expense. When used to care for sick children, it helps them get well faster and reduces job turnover of working parents. Workers who care for adult relatives, including the elderly, need paid sick leave to take care of their loved ones’ chronic and acute medical problems. However, new analysis of data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals the inadequacy of paid sick leave coverage: more than 59 million workers have no such leave. Even more—nearly 86 million—do not have paid sick leave to care for sick children. Full-time workers, those in the public sector, and union members have the best sick leave coverage, while part-timers and low-wage workers have very low coverage rates. Expansion of paid sick leave and integration of family caregiving activities into authorized uses of paid sick leave are crucial work and health supports for workers, their families, employers, and our communities at large.

Go to Home Page