North Dakota farm (Photo: Shutterstock)

About half of the workers in rural communities lack paid sick leave, and fewer than half (48%) have unpaid job protection through the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a new report finds.

The report from New America, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, painted an alarming picture of the lack of medical leave for Americans in rural communities. “Among U.S. states with more than 20% of the population living in rural areas, none guarantee workers access to paid family and medical leave and only two (Vermont and New Mexico) guarantee access to paid sick time,” the report says. “In the absence of legislative requirements or programs, just over half of workers in rural communities (55.7%) report having employer-provided paid sick time through their jobs, and both men and women in rural communities are seven percentage points less likely than metropolitan-area workers to have access to paid sick time.”

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