Research/studies State laws

Many workers in San Jose lack paid sick days: study

San Jose, CA – Three out of four people who work in construction, food service and child care in San Jose lack access to paid sick days, according to a study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Researchers analyzed data from the 2011-2012 National Health Interview Survey and the 2009-2011 American Community Survey and found that 35 percent of all private-sector employees in the city of about 1 million people did not have paid sick days. Those who were most affected by the lack of paid sick days included Hispanics (52 percent); food service workers (78 percent); personal care service workers (75 percent); employees in farming, fishing and forestry occupations (86 percent); and construction workers (75 percent). By comparison, 12 percent of people with computer and mathematics-related jobs lacked paid sick days.

Several large cities – including New York; Washington, D.C.; and Seattle – have passed laws requiring employers to provide leave when workers or their children are ill. The same holds true in San Francisco, which implemented a law in 2007 stating that employees earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, with maximums of 40 hours or 72 hours of paid sick time per year depending on the size of the company.

“Paid sick days are an inexpensive, effective tool for promoting public health,” Barbara Gault, IWPR vice president and executive director, said in a press release.