More than 60% of low-paid workers are still unable to get paid sick days at work

The pandemic has highlighted the huge disparities in the United States, especially in the American labor market. The stark disparities were amplified in who could work from home and who had to go to work in person, who was able to keep their job and who experienced lost hours or work altogether, who had health insurance to seek care when he needed it and who didn’t, and who had The ability to take paid sick days to stay home when sick, receive a vaccination, or care for loved ones and those who haven’t. Yesterday, the latest data on employer benefits was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Stark disparities in access to workplace benefits remain. One of the hardest hits is the inability of more than 60% of the lowest-paid workers in the United States to earn paid sick days to care for themselves or family members.

Figure AIt appears below that access to paid sick leave is deeply unequal: workers below are disproportionately deprived of this important security. The highest paid workers (the highest 10%) are two and a half times more likely to take paid sick leave than the lowest paid workers (the lowest 10%). While 96% of the highest paid workers had paid sick days, only 38% of the lowest paid workers could get paid sick days.

Highly paid workers are paid sick leave; Most low-paid workers don’t: Proportion of private sector workers with paid sick leave, by wage category, 2022

category Percentage of workers who take paid sick leave
lowest 25% 55%
second 25% 81%
third 25% 86%
top 25% 94%
lowest 10% 38%
top 10% 96%
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The data below can be saved or copied directly to Excel.