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Two-fifths of workers have no paid sick leave, BLS report says

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Washington – Nearly 40 percent of private-industry employees – about 44 million people – lack access to paid sick leave, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released July 24.

Additionally, less than one-quarter of part-time and low-wage workers have paid sick leave. The BLS report was based on data retrieved in March from the National Compensation Survey, which measures various aspects of employee benefits.

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said in a July 27 blog post that a national paid sick day policy is needed and that it is “unthinkable” that some workers must make a choice between working while ill and taking a day off to recover.

Some states and municipalities have mandatory minimum paid sick leave requirements for workers, but no national policy exists.

Proponents of paid sick leave assert that paying workers to stay home when ill or when caring for a sick family member can reduce the spread of contagions in the workplace, boost productivity and lower health care costs.