Millions lack paid sick days

Millions lack paid sick days

Nearly half of all workers in California don’t get a single paid sick day from their employers. Additionally, this state of affairs is far worse for some classes of employees than others.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that, among the overall 44 percent of California adult workers who don’t get a paid sick day, 81 percent of those working in business with “frequent contact with the public” such as food service don’t get PTO when they are ill.

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“These data indicate that California’s workers who are least able to lose pay when they are sick are also the least likely to have employer-provided paid sick days,” said the institute’s Jeff Hayes. “Paid sick days give workers the ability to seek health services or stay home with sick children or other family members, helping reduce the spread of illness in schools and workplaces.”

The study identified Hispanic workers in the Golden State as “among the least likely to have access” with 43 percent able to take a paid sick day off from work. At the other end of the spectrum, white and black workers fared much better: 64 percent of white employees overall can take off at least one sick day. Asian workers reported having a 63 percent access to paid sick days.

Government workers had a much higher instance of access to paid sick days — 78 percent — than private sector workers at 52 percent. Women tended to have a higher percentage of access than men (54 percent vs. 58 percent). Computer/technical workers and architectural/engineering workers had the highest access rate by occupation at 86 percent and 84 percent respectively.

The institute cited the city of San Francisco as a case study supporting the relationship between paid sick time off and prosperity.

“San Francisco passed the country’s first paid sick days ordinance in 2007. Following implementation of the ordinance, IWPR analyses found that two-thirds of employers surveyed after the law’s implementation were supportive of the measure and that job growth in San Francisco exceeded that of its surrounding counties,” the institute reported.