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38 Percent of American Workers Don’t Have Paid Sick Days


At this time of year, we see a lot of articles admonishing workers for not staying home when they’re sick. What’s less talked about is the fact that only 62 percent of private sector employees have any paid sick time to use.


(Photo Credit: mcfarlandmo/Flickr)

The Center for American Progress released a fact sheet on the state of sick time in 2012. Among the information it imparts:

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1. Only 62 percent of private-sector employees have paid time off. Seventy-five percent of full-time workers have paid sick days, but only 27 percent part-time workers have it.

2. Low-income workers — the people who can least afford to miss work — are also the least likely to have PTO for sick days. The average wage for workers without paid sick time is $10 an hour.

3. Women are less likely to have paid sick time than men. Service industry jobs, which are more often held by women, are the least likely to have paid time off for illness.

4. Twenty-three percent of adults say they’ve been threatened with termination for taking time off to care for themselves or a family member.

5. Forty million workers in the U.S. currently lack paid sick leave.

“Critics are fond of saying that paid sick days will be bad for businesses, but it’s just the opposite,” writes Jane Farrell on The Center’s website. “Paid sick leave policies strengthen worker loyalty, increase productivity, and reduce turnover. In San Francisco, which was the first city to pass paid sick leave legislation in 2007, two-thirds of employers are supportive of the city’s ordinance. …Workers who do not have access to paid sick days, moreover, are one-and-a-half times more likely to go to work sick with a contagious illness, putting their co-workers or customers at risk.”

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Does your company give you sick days — and do you use them? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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And, we wonder why there are such terrible flu seasons each year. We don’t let sick people stay home and get well.

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