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.

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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.

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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.”

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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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