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Public administration

Access to paid sick leave has increased, but unequally: report

March 5, 2014

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Washington – Despite an overall increase in paid sick leave for private-sector employees in the past three years, about 41 million workers still lack access to it, according to a new analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Several states and municipalities across the country have passed laws that require sick days for workers, and the percentage of employees with access to paid sick leave has increased to 61 percent in 2012 from 57 percent in 2009, according to the analysis, which was released March 4.

However, IWPR warns that access to paid sick days is not evenly distributed. The analysis states that fewer than 47 percent of Hispanic workers – and only 28 percent of workers earning less than $20,000 per year – have access to paid sick leave. Results also show that one-quarter of part-time employees have access to sick leave, as well as less than half of workers in the sales, construction, food preparation and farming industries.

Providing paid sick leave creates safe work environments, reduced health care costs for workers and lower turnover costs for employers, IWPR states.