More workers now get sick days
Why it matters: Lack of sick leave forces workers to choose between making money or prioritizing their health. Often, especially for the lowest-paid, it's not much of a choice.
Zoom in: The sharp uptick is due to state laws — over the past 10 years, 15 states and Washington, D.C., passed paid sick leave laws.
- Today 78% of workers in the private sector can take a paid sick day, compared to 63% in 2010, the EPI said, citing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- The share of low-wage workers rose the most because they were the least likely to have any sick leave.
- Still, an overwhelming majority of these lowest-paid workers — 61% — can't take a paid day off when they're sick.
The big picture: The U.S. is an outlier among rich countries in not having any national paid sick leave policy.
- There was some hope back in 2020 that the pandemic would push policymakers — and employers — on this issue.
- A narrowly crafted federal law that required some paid sick leave was passed in 2020,
- But it expired the following year, and there's little appetite to do more.