A new study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research shows that access to paid sick leave is unequally distributed across the U.S. population and varies according to race and ethnicity, occupation, immigrant status, sexual orientation, earnings levels, and work schedules.
Titled Paid Sick Days Access and Usage Rates Vary by Race/Ethnicity, Occupation, and Earnings, the study found that only 46 percent of Hispanic workers in the United States have access to paid sick days compared with 60 percent of workers overall. Hispanic workers tend to be overrepresented in occupations with low paid sick days access, such as the service sector. The study also points out that low-wage workers, immigrants, lesbian, gay or bisexual workers and part-time workers have less access to paid sick days. Overall, over 51 million workers in all racial and ethnic groups lack access to paid sick days in their current job.
The study, which utilized data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey, also found that those who do have paid sick day coverage use an average of 1.9 days—which suggests that paid sick days can be easily integrated into workplace policies.