Feeling sick? Chances are you might go to work anyway. Tworecent studies — one from the Economic Policy Institute and anotherfrom the Institute for Women’s Policy Research — show that morethan a third of employees do not get paid for sick time they take.They also show that lower-income workers and minorities are gettingless sick time than higher-paid employees.


The Economic Policy Institute study, which was released April 11and analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, found38 percent of private-sector workers receive no paid sick time.Yet, 86 percent of the highest-paid workers in private industry hadaccess to sick days while only 19 percent of the lowest-paidworkers did. This makes it more likely for employees to come towork sick or send sick children to school rather than staying athome and not getting paid, which is a lose-lose situation foreveryone, many officials say.


In fact, some states, including California, are currentlyweighing the idea to require employers to pay for workers’ sickleave. “Nobody wins when workers show up to work sick,”Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D.-San Francisco, said when she introduceda California bill in February. “The lack of paid sick days is apublic health concern. It harms children and families and decreasesproductivity at work.”


Additionally, whites and Asian-Americans have the highest rateof sick leave, while the leave rates for black and Hispanic workersare lower, according to the Institute for Women’s PolicyResearch.

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