New Data Regarding Workers' Access to and Use of Leave

Analysis
New Data Regarding Workers' Access to and Use of Leave

On August 16, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data from the 2011 American Time Use Survey. Among the findings were that:

  • 4 in 10 workers lack access to paid leave; and
  • Low-wage workers, Latino workers, those with poorer health, and those whose jobs place them in direct contact with the public (such as retail and hospitality, including food service) are less likely to have access to leave and more likely to lose wages when they take leave.

San Francisco was the first city in the country to enact paid sick days in 2007, and a recent survey showed the ordinance has worked well for employees and employers alike. Studies show that paid sick days also protect public health.

Sharon Terman, Director of the Work & Family Project at Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, said, “The data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reinforce the need to guarantee paid sick days as a basic labor protection for all workers in this country.  No one should have to lose pay or risk their job because they get sick or need to care for a sick family member.